Cyanobacteria are oxygenic photosynthetic prokaryotes, practically present in every plausible environment on the earth. In 1996, the first cyanobacterial genome was sequenced from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and the cyanobacterial genome database has been continuously growing with genomes from more than 300 cyanobacterial and other related species, so far. Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 is one of the best-characterized cyanobacteria and has developed into a model cyanobacterium that scientists are using throughout the world. At the same time, the field of hemoglobin was undergoing a breakthrough with the identification of new globins in all three kingdoms of life including cyanobacteria. Since then, the newly identified globins in the cyanobacteria are raising intriguing questions about their structure and physiological functions, which are quite different from vertebrate’s hemoglobin and myoglobin. These hemoglobins have displayed unprecedented stability, unique heme coordination, novel conformational changes, and other properties that are not often observed in the globin superfamily. This chapter provides an overview of the unique globin from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, its interacting protein partners, proposed functions, and its biotechnological implications including potential in the field of artificial oxygen carriers.
Part of the book: Cyanobacteria