Comparison of the structures of globins and phycocyanins: Evidence for evolutionary relationship

Annalisa Pastore, Arthur M. Lesk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Globins and phycocyanins are two classes of proteins with different function, different ligands, and no substantial sequence similarity, yet the conformations of their polypeptide chains show very similar folding patterns. Does this arise from a genuine, albeit very distant, evolutionary relationship, or does it represent a common solution of a structural problem? We address this question by a very detailed comparison of the structures of the two protein families. An analysis of the helices and their interactions shows many features common to globins and phycocyanins, including some exceptional features of the globins such as a 3–10 C helix and the unusual “crossed‐ridge” packing pattern at the B/E helix interfaces. We conclude that the evidence supports the hypothesis of distant evolutionary relationship between globins and phycocyanins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-155
Number of pages23
JournalProteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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