Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 2101–2110 | Cite as

Myxococcus xanthus truncated globin HbO: in silico analysis and functional characterization

  • Santosh Kumar Singh
  • Rajinder Kaur
  • Ashok Kumar
  • Ramandeep KaurEmail author
Original Article


Truncated globins are 20–40 amino acids shorter than full length globins. Till date, globins have been characterized predominantly from bacteria involved in pathogenicity, nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis, where they are implicated in bacterial virulence within the host, protection of nitrogenase from oxygen inactivation and prevention of oxidative damage to the photosynthetic machinery respectively. Myxococcus xanthus, the model myxobacterium, is an obligate aerobe with a multicellular stage in its life cycle where cells encounter oxygen limitation. This work was undertaken to investigate the potential role of the truncated globin in M. xanthus. To examine the role of globins in this unique group of bacteria, the gene coding for a putative truncated globin (HbO) was identified in the genome of M. xanthus DK 1622. The sequence analysis by bioinformatics approaches revealed that HbO from M. xanthus (Mx-HbO) likely adopts a 2-on-2 alpha helical fold of the truncated globins. The gene coding for Mx-HbO was cloned and its expression in E. coli imparted reddish tinge to the cells. The spectral analysis confirmed it to be a functional globin. The expression of Mx-HbO in the heterologous host improved its growth, resulting in the attainment of higher cell density in culture. The transcript of Mx-hbO was induced threefold in the host cells when grown under low aeration condition as compared to the cells grown under high aeration condition. In M. xanthus, an obligate aerobe, where cell growth accompanies swarming, there is a higher density of cells in the middle of the swarm. Our results suggest that Mx-HbO is a functional globin and could facilitate the growth of cells facing oxygen deprivation, the condition prevailing in the middle of the swarm.


Myxococcus xanthus Truncated hemoglobin Transcriptional analysis Growth advantage 



SKS is grateful to the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, for fellowship. The study was supported by the grant sanctioned to Ramandeep Kaur by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. The authors would like to thank Sonia Sharma, Department of Biotechnology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India, for help in formatting the manuscript.


This study was supported by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology (Grant Number BT/PR12695/BRB/10/716/2009).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no financial/non-financial conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11033_2019_4662_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (574 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 573 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyGuru Nanak Dev UniversityAmritsarIndia
  2. 2.Department of Botanical and Environmental SciencesGuru Nanak Dev UniversityAmritsarIndia
  3. 3.Centre for Systems Biology and BioinformaticsPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia
  4. 4.Department cum National Centre for Human Genome Studies and ResearchPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia

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