The structural adaptability of the globin fold has been highlighted by the recent discovery of the 2-on-2 haemoglobins, of neuroglobin and cytoglobin. Protoglobin from Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A-a strictly anaerobic methanogenic Archaea-is, to the best of our knowledge, the latest entry adding new variability and functional complexity to the haemoglobin (Hb) superfamily. Here, we report the 1.3 Å crystal structure of oxygenated M. acetivorans protoglobin, together with the first insight into its ligand-binding properties. We show that, contrary to all known globins, protoglobin-specific loops and an amino-terminal extension completely bury the haem within the protein matrix. Access of O2, CO and NO to the haem is granted by the protoglobin-specific apolar tunnels reaching the haem distal site from locations at the B/G and B/E helix interfaces. Functionally, M. acetivorans dimeric protoglobin shows a selectivity ratio for O2/CO binding to the haem that favours O2 ligation and anticooperativity in ligand binding. Both properties are exceptional within the Hb superfamily.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology