Int J Biol Sci 2014; 10(7):689-701. doi:10.7150/ijbs.8327 This issue

Research Paper

Amoebozoa Possess Lineage-Specific Globin Gene Repertoires Gained by Individual Horizontal Gene Transfers

Jasmin Dröge1, Dorota Buczek1,2, Yutaka Suzuki3, Wojciech Makałowski1,3 ✉

1. Institute of Bioinformatics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Muenster, Niels Stensen Str. 14, 48149 Muenster, Germany
2. Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, A. Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
3. Department of Medical Genomic Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Dröge J, Buczek D, Suzuki Y, Makałowski W. Amoebozoa Possess Lineage-Specific Globin Gene Repertoires Gained by Individual Horizontal Gene Transfers. Int J Biol Sci 2014; 10(7):689-701. doi:10.7150/ijbs.8327. Available from

File import instruction


The Amoebozoa represent a clade of unicellular amoeboid organisms that display a wide variety of lifestyles, including free-living and parasitic species. For example, the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum has the ability to aggregate into a multicellular fruiting body upon starvation, while the pathogenic amoeba Entamoeba histolytica is a parasite of humans. Globins are small heme proteins that are present in almost all extant organisms. Although several genomes of amoebozoan species have been sequenced, little is known about the phyletic distribution of globin genes within this phylum. Only two flavohemoglobins (FHbs) of D. discoideum have been reported and characterized previously while the genomes of Entamoeba species are apparently devoid of globin genes. We investigated eleven amoebozoan species for the presence of globin genes by genomic and phylogenetic in silico analyses. Additional FHb genes were identified in the genomes of four social amoebas and the true slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Moreover, a single-domain globin (SDFgb) of Hartmannella vermiformis, as well as two truncated hemoglobins (trHbs) of Acanthamoeba castellanii were identified. Phylogenetic evidence suggests that these globin genes were independently acquired via horizontal gene transfer from some ancestral bacteria. Furthermore, the phylogenetic tree of amoebozoan FHbs indicates that they do not share a common ancestry and that a transfer of FHbs from bacteria to amoeba occurred multiple times.

Keywords: Amoebozoa, globin genes