Evolution of the haem copper oxidases superfamily: a rooting tale

Trends Biochem Sci. 2009 Aug;34(8):375-81. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2009.04.002. Epub 2009 Jul 31.


Understanding the origin and evolution of haem copper dioxygen reductases (HCO O(2)Red), the terminal enzymes of aerobic respiratory chains, is fundamental to clarify the emergence of this important cellular process. Phylogenetic analyses of HCO O(2)Red have led to contradictory results, suggesting, in turn, that they predate oxygenic photosynthesis and already reduced oxygen as their function; they predate oxygenic photosynthesis, but did not reduce oxygen; they postdate oxygenic photosynthesis. Here, we present a discussion of current data on the distribution and phylogeny of HCO O(2)Red, which leads to a novel and clearer picture of the origin and evolution of these key enzymes as well as their function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Archaeal Proteins / classification
  • Archaeal Proteins / genetics*
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / classification
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Heme / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidoreductases / classification
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Phylogeny


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Heme
  • Oxidoreductases
  • copper oxidase
  • Oxygen