Summary: News in Science - Ancient bacteria take a breath - 07/02/2000 http://www.abc.net.au/cgi-bin/common/printfriendly.pl?/science/news/st...
1 of 2 3/5/2008 12:55 PM
Bacillus subtilus Pic:
N.Chamberlain & Betty Cox
News in Science
News in Science - Ancient bacteria take a breath - 07/02/2000
[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s98106.htm]
Ancient bacteria take a breath
Monday, 7 February 2000
Proteins discovered in ancient bacteria could provide evidence of the evolutionary beginning of
the use of oxygen and thereby a clue to when and how life arose on Earth.
The discovery was made by a University of Hawaii research team, and appeared in the latest
journal. In animals, the proteins, myoglobin (found in muscle) and its close relative hemoglobin
(the main protein in the red blood cell) play an essential role in oxygen transport and storage. The
newly identified proteins may be the evolutionary ancestors of proteins involved in oxygen
sensing as well as transport and storage.
The research team cloned the genes expressing these proteins, which were then purified and
characterized. The newly discovered proteins from Halobacterium salinarum and the more widely
known bacterium Bacillus subtilis help sense oxygen, allowing the organism to find a more