Human hemoglobin binds oxygen cooperatively and functions as a tetramer composed of two identical αβ heterodimers. While human hemoglobin is the best characterized allosteric protein, the quaternary R (oxygenated or liganded) to T (deoxygenated) structural transition remains controversial. The R2 state has been postulated to represent either an intermediate or final quaternary state elicited by ligand binding. However, the biological relevance of the R2 state has been questioned as it has not been observed crystallographically under physiological conditions. The high-resolution R2 quaternary structures of human COHbC (βE6K) and COHbS (βE6V) are reported at neutral pH and low ionic strength using PEG 4000 as a precipitant. Crystals of COHbC, COHbS and their mixtures are isomorphous, indicating that they share the same tertiary and quaternary structures. In contrast, oxyHbA or COHbA did not yield crystals at neutral pH under similar conditions. Solubility studies and modeling suggest that at neutral pH and low ionic strength the β6 mutant hemoglobins crystallize (βK6 > βV6) as a result of more favorable lattice contacts.
|Number of pages
|Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography
|Published - May 1 2005
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology