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Evolutionary analysis of globin domains from kinetoplastids


Globin (Gb) domains function in sensing gaseous ligands like oxygen and nitric oxide. In recent years, Gb domain containing heme binding adenylate cyclases (OsAC or GbAC) emerged as significant modulator of Leishmania response to hypoxia and oxidative stress. During progression of life cycle stages, kinetoplastids experience altered condition in insect vectors or other hosts. Moreover, marked diversity in life style has been accounted among kinetoplastids. Distribution and abundance of Gb-domains vary between different groups of kinetoplastids. While in bodonoids, Gbs are not combined with any other functional domains, in trypanosomatids it is either fused with adenylate cyclase (AC) or oxidoreductase (OxR) domains. In salivarian trypanosomatids and Leishmania (Viannia) subtypes, no gene product featuring Gbs can be identified. In this context, evolution of Gb-domains in kinetoplastids was explored. GbOxR derived Gbs clustered with bacterial flavohemoglobins (fHb) including one fHb from Advenella, an endosymbiont of monoxeneous trypanosomatids. Codon adaptation and other evolutionary analysis suggested that OsAC (LmjF.28.0090), the solitary Gb-domain featuring gene product in Leishmania, was acquired via possible horizontal gene transfer. Substantial functional divergence was estimated between orthologues of genes encoding GbAC or GbOxR; an observation also reflected in structural alignment and heme-binding residue predictions. Orthologue–paralogue and synteny analysis indicated genomic reduction in GbOxR and GbAC loci for dixeneous trypanosomatids.

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The authors acknowledge all the open source software and server providers. AB is funded by Startup research Grant-SRG/2020/000702 (SERB, Govt. of India) and SEED Grant, Adamas University.


The funding has been received from Science and Engineering Research Board with Grant no. SRG/2020/000702.

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AB conceptualized the work, designed experiments, analyzed data and prepared the manuscript. AM performed the experiments, analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. KA performed experiments and analyzed data. All approved the final draft.

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Correspondence to Arijit Bhattacharya.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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The study does not involve any human and/or animal subjects or clinical isolates. No personally identifiable patient/human subject information was disclosed to the researchers.

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Communicated by Erko Stackebrandt.

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Mitra, A., Acharya, K. & Bhattacharya, A. Evolutionary analysis of globin domains from kinetoplastids. Arch Microbiol 204, 493 (2022).

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  • Globin
  • Heme
  • Oxidoreductase
  • Adenylate cyclase
  • Phylogeny
  • Horizontal gene transfer