The multigenic family of the extracellular hemoglobin from the annelid polychaete Arenicola marina

Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2006 Jul;144(3):319-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2006.03.007.


The extracellular hemoglobin of the lugworm Arenicola marina which inhabits on the intertidal area, a sulfide-rich environment, comprises eight globin chains previously determined by mass spectrometry. We have cloned and sequenced five of the globin components. The deduced amino-acid sequences exhibit an extracellular signal peptide and two cysteine residues involved in an internal disulfide bond. The molecular weights calculated from the globin primary structures obtained from complete cDNA sequences are in good agreement with the mass spectrometry values obtained with the native hemoglobin. Phylogenetic analysis has allowed assigning the five A. marina sequences to the different globin sub-families. Two of the globins were found to be A2 globin chains lacking the cysteine residues proposed to be involved in the binding of hydrogen sulfide by such hemoglobin. We discuss the unusual absence of these cysteines in the light of their invariant occurrence in the A2 subfamily of hemoglobins from annelids inhabiting sulfide-rich environments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cysteine / analysis
  • Disulfides / metabolism
  • Environment
  • Extracellular Space*
  • Globins / chemistry
  • Hemoglobins / classification
  • Hemoglobins / genetics*
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Phylogeny
  • Polychaeta / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sulfides / metabolism


  • Disulfides
  • Hemoglobins
  • Sulfides
  • Globins
  • Cysteine