Characterization of haemoglobin from Actinorhizal plants – An in silico approach


Plant haemoglobins (Hbs), found in both symbiotic and non-symbiotic plants, are heme proteins and members of the globin superfamily. Hb genes of actinorhizal Fagales mostly belong to the non-symbiotic type of haemoglobin; however, along with the non-symbiotic Hb, Casuarina sp. posses a symbiotic one (symCgHb), which is expressed specifically in infected cells of nodules. A thorough sequence analysis of 26 plant Hb proteins, currently available in public domain, revealed a consensus motif of 29 amino acids. This motif is present in all the members of symbiotic class II Hbs including symCgHb and non-symbiotic Class II Hbs, but is totally absent in Class I symbiotic and non-symbiotic Hbs. Further, we constructed 3D structures of Hb proteins from Alnus and Casuarina through homology modelling and peeped into their structural properties. Structure-based studies revealed that the Casuarina symbiotic haemoglobin protein shows distinct stereochemical properties from that of the other Casuarina and Alnus Hb proteins. It also showed considerable structural similarities with leghemoglobin structure from yellow lupin (pdb id 1GDI). Therefore, sequence and structure analyses point to the fact that symCgHb protein shows significant resemblance to symbiotic haemoglobin found in legumes and may thus eventually play a similar role in shielding the nitrogenase from oxygen as seen in the case of leghemoglobin.


Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

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Journal of Biosciences



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© Indian Academy of Sciences 2013