Caenorhabditis elegans globin GLB-26 (expressed from gene T22C1.2) has been studied in comparison with human neuroglobin (Ngb) and cytoglobin (Cygb) for its electron transfer properties. GLB-26 exhibits no reversible binding for O2 and a relatively low CO affinity compared to myoglobin-like globins. These differences arise from its mechanism of gaseous ligand binding since the heme iron of GLB-26 is strongly hexacoordinated in the absence of external ligands; the replacement of this internal ligand, probably the E7 distal histidine, is required before binding of CO or O2 as for Ngb and Cygb. Interestingly the ferrous bis-histidyl GLB-26 and Ngb, another strongly hexacoordinated globin, can transfer an electron to cytochrome c (Cyt-c) at a high bimolecular rate, comparable to those of inter-protein electron transfer in mitochondria. In addition, GLB-26 displays an unexpectedly rapid oxidation of the ferrous His-Fe-His complex without O2 actually binding to the iron atom, since the heme is oxidized by O2 faster than the time for distal histidine dissociation. These efficient mechanisms for electron transfer could indicate a family of hexacoordinated globin which are functionally different from that of pentacoordinated globins
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