Hemoglobin and Chlorophyll

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Bartosz Milewsk, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. Is the similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll an accident or did one evolve from the other?
     
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  2. R Norman

    R Norman Guest

    On Sun, 1 Feb 2004 18:46:18 +0000 (UTC), "Bartosz Milewski"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Is the similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll an accident or did one evolve from the other?
    >
    You should read Ross C. Hardison A brief history of hemoglobins: Plant, animal, protist, and
    bacteria Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 93, pp. 5675-5679, June 1996

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/93/12/5675.pdf?ijkey=f5f6d67d44ef18ff44dcebc11b000c9b408a996a

    It starts out: "The utility of metal-bound porphyrin rings for the transfer of electrons was
    established early in evolution, as witnessed by the ubiquitous cytochromes that pass electrons down
    an electrochemical gradient in the respiratory chain,..."

    It continues: "Plants not only make oxygen during photosynthesis, but they also use it for
    respiration through the electron transfer chain in mitochondria. Recent studies show that they use
    hemoglobins to bind and transfer that oxygen."

    So it shouldn't be surprising that the oxygen-binding, energy translating porphyrin ring should be
    common to both plant and animal.

    Of course, the heme group is different from the globin protein. The paper's Figure 1 outlines the
    history of the hemoglobin gene.
     
  3. Larry Moran

    Larry Moran Guest

    On Sun, 1 Feb 2004 18:46:18 +0000 (UTC),
    Bartosz Milewski <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Is the similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll an accident or did one evolve from the other?

    Hemoglobin consists of a protein (globin) and a heme group. Chlorophyll refers to a heme-like
    molecule. The globin proteins are not even remotely related to the proteins that bind chlorophyll in
    photosystems.

    On the other hand, the heme in hemoglobin is structurally similar to the heme (chlorin) in
    chlorohyll and to many other similar molecules in cytochromes etc.

    The most primitive organisms must have had a pathway for porphyrin synthesis. Derivatives of these
    porphyrins became part of cytochromes. Later on, there were additonal modifications of the porphyrin
    pathway giving rise to what we now recognize as chlorophylls. Hemoglobin came several billion years
    later but the heme porphyrin is basically the same as the cytochrome one.

    Larry Moran
     
  4. Jim Menegay

    Jim Menegay Guest

    "Bartosz Milewski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Is the similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll an accident or did one evolve from the other?

    Presumably you mean the similarity between heme and chlorophyl. Hemoglobin is a protein that
    carries heme.

    Probably not an accident. There are other related biomolecules, including vitamin B12. It is not
    clear (to me) which was first, if any. However, the words "evolve from" should be used carefully.
    Heme didn't slowly become chlorophyl, if that is the direction that evolution took. Instead, the
    heme production machinery evolved to become chlorophyl production machinery. At least that is a
    better picture than saying that a small molecule evolved, even if the process went through
    several steps.
     
  5. Dan Bolser

    Dan Bolser Guest

    On Mon, 2 Feb 2004, Jim Menegay wrote:

    > "Bartosz Milewski" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    > > Is the similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll an accident or did one evolve from the
    > > other?
    >
    > Presumably you mean the similarity between heme and chlorophyl. Hemoglobin is a protein that
    > carries heme.
    >
    > Probably not an accident. There are other related biomolecules, including vitamin B12. It is not
    > clear (to me) which was first, if any. However, the words "evolve from" should be used carefully.
    > Heme didn't slowly become chlorophyl, if that is the direction that evolution took. Instead, the
    > heme production machinery evolved to become chlorophyl production machinery. At least that is a
    > better picture than saying that a small molecule evolved, even if the process went through
    > several steps.

    Interesting distinction dont you think?

    Did one metabolic protein slowly become another, or did the specific mechanisms of DNA facilitate
    the process of evolution?

    Hmmm - hypercycles are too tricky for my brain....

    On the topic of the original post.... A structural comparison of protein fold type has proven very
    useful in the construction of evolutionary groups of proteins - I am trying to start a project to do
    the same for small molecules - Structural Classification of Ligands (SCOL) (re SCOP for proteins).

    However - this is not easy - in the given example the similarity between haem and chlorophyl is both
    structural and physiochemical - how should we begin to classify chemical structures into an overal
    hierarchy?

    I beleive such a framework would be a first step towards answering questions like 'which came first'
    above. For example - how old is colesterol? - No doubt not as old as Fe4S, but how about glucose?

    Anybody want to work on SCOL?

    (hopefully) http://bioinformatics.org/

    I know there are many small molecule similarity (searching) algorithms out their - The first step is
    to pick a few of these and see what comes out.

    Cheers, Dan.
     
  6. I had no idea hemoglobin was so old. Is there, by any chance, a similar paper on the history of the
    chlorophyll gene? Bartosz

    "r norman" <[email protected]_comcast.net> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > On Sun, 1 Feb 2004 18:46:18 +0000 (UTC), "Bartosz Milewski" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >Is the similarity between hemoglobin and chlorophyll an accident or did
    one
    > >evolve from the other?
    > >
    > You should read Ross C. Hardison A brief history of hemoglobins: Plant, animal, protist, and
    > bacteria Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 93, pp. 5675-5679, June 1996
    >
    >
    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/93/12/5675.pdf?ijkey=f5f6d67d44ef18ff44dcebc11b000c9b408a996a
    >
    > It starts out: "The utility of metal-bound porphyrin rings for the transfer of electrons was
    > established early in evolution, as witnessed by the ubiquitous cytochromes that pass electrons
    > down an electrochemical gradient in the respiratory chain,..."
    >
    > It continues: "Plants not only make oxygen during photosynthesis, but they also use it for
    > respiration through the electron transfer chain in mitochondria. Recent studies show that they use
    > hemoglobins to bind and transfer that oxygen."
    >
    > So it shouldn't be surprising that the oxygen-binding, energy translating porphyrin ring should be
    > common to both plant and animal.
    >
    > Of course, the heme group is different from the globin protein. The paper's Figure 1 outlines the
    > history of the hemoglobin gene.
     
  7. Irr

    Irr Guest

    Sounds like you are still confusing the history of a gene or protein with
    that of a molecule. A careful rereading of some of the other great
    responses to your question should help to shed some light on this
    misunderstanding. Chlorophyll is a molecule that requires something like 2
    dozen proteins to synthesize (the first half or so of these are also used to
    synthesize heme, hence the idea that heme is older than chlorophyll). There
    are ideas that the history of these biosynthesis genes should mirror the
    history of the molecule (e.g. Morowitz's "metabolism recapitulates
    biogenesis"), and some nice but maybe too technical papers attempt to do
    exactly this (e.g. Xiong et al. "Complex evolution of photosynthesis" in
    Annual Review of Plant Biology 2002, 53:503-21).

    "Bartosz Milewski" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I had no idea hemoglobin was so old. Is there, by any chance, a similar paper on the history of
    > the chlorophyll gene? Bartosz
     
  8. R Norman

    R Norman Guest

    On Tue, 3 Feb 2004 07:40:44 +0000 (UTC), "Bartosz Milewski"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I had no idea hemoglobin was so old. Is there, by any chance, a similar paper on the history of the
    >chlorophyll gene? Bartosz
    >
    Try DH Burke, JE Hearst, and A Sidow Early Evolution of Photosynthesis: Clues from Nitrogenase \ and
    Chlorophyll Iron Proteins PNAS 1993; 90: 7134-7138. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/90/15/7134.pdf

    or PETER J. LOCKHART*, ANTHONY W. D. LARKUM†, MICHAEL A. STEEL‡, PETER J. WADDELL*, AND DAVID PENNY*
    Evolution of chlorophyll and bacteriochlorophyll: The problem of invariant sites in sequence
    analysis Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93, pp. 1930–1934, March 1996
    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/93/5/1930.pdf
     
  9. Malcolm

    Malcolm Guest

    "Bartosz Milewski" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    > I had no idea hemoglobin was so old. Is there, by any chance, a similar paper on the history of
    > the chlorophyll gene?
    >
    Hemoglobin is protein, actually four units, plus four heme groups. An arrangement of four nitrogens
    in the heme group holds the iron ion that gives hemoglobin its power to bind oxygen. Chlorophyll is
    not a protein. It is a molecule that is similar to heme in that it has four nitrogens, in this case
    holding a magnesium ion.

    Since these molecules are not coded for directly by DNA, they can't undergo molecular evolution as
    the term is generally understood. However the form of the molecules may have changed over
    evolutionary time as the enzymes which synthesise these molecules changed.
     
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