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Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2014 Jul;211(3):501-14. doi: 10.1111/apha.12312. Epub 2014 May 28.

Function and evolution of vertebrate globins.

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Institute of Zoology and Zoological Museum, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.


Globins are haem-proteins that bind O2 and thus play an important role in the animal's respiration and oxidative energy production. However, globins may also have other functions such as the decomposition or production of NO, the detoxification of reactive oxygen species or intracellular signalling. In addition to the well-investigated haemoglobins and myoglobins, genome sequence analyses have led to the identification of six further globin types in vertebrates: androglobin, cytoglobin, globin E, globin X, globin Y and neuroglobin. Here, we review the present state of knowledge on the functions, the taxonomic distribution and evolution of vertebrate globins, drawing conclusions about the functional changes underlying present-day globin diversity.


androglobin; cytoglobin; haemoglobin; myoglobin; neuroglobin; oxygen

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