Globin gene family evolution and functional diversification in annelids

FEBS J. 2007 May;274(10):2641-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2007.05799.x. Epub 2007 Apr 19.


Globins are the most common type of oxygen-binding protein in annelids. In this paper, we show that circulating intracellular globin (Alvinella pompejana and Glycera dibranchiata), noncirculating intracellular globin (Arenicola marina myoglobin) and extracellular globin from various annelids share a similar gene structure, with two conserved introns at canonical positions B12.2 and G7.0. Despite sequence divergence between intracellular and extracellular globins, these data strongly suggest that these three globin types are derived from a common ancestral globin-like gene and evolved by duplication events leading to diversification of globin types and derived functions. A phylogenetic analysis shows a distinct evolutionary history of annelid extracellular hemoglobins with respect to intracellular annelid hemoglobins and mollusc and arthropod extracellular hemoglobins. In addition, dehaloperoxidase (DHP) from the annelid, Amphitrite ornata, surprisingly exhibits close phylogenetic relationships to some annelid intracellular globins. We have characterized the gene structure of A. ornata DHP to confirm assumptions about its homology with globins. It appears that it has the same intron position as in globin genes, suggesting a common ancestry with globins. In A. ornata, DHP may be a derived globin with an unusual enzymatic function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Annelida / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Globins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Globins