Studies on cobalt myoglobins and hemoglobins. XIII. A consequence of the occurrence of glutamine at the E7 (58) site of α subunits in opossum hemoglobin

Kiyohiro Imai, Masao Ikeda-Saito, Takashi Yonetani

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To investigate the mode of interactions between heme metal, bound oxygen and the distal residue at the E7 site, we have measured accurate oxygen equilibrium curves, oxygen binding relaxations following temperature-jump, and electron paramagnetic resonance spectra of natural and cobalt-substituted opossum hemoglobin, which has glutamine and histidine at the E7 site of the α chain and the β chain, respectively, and compared them with those of natural and cobalt-substituted human hemoglobin, which has histidine at the E7 site of both the α and β chains. Natural opossum hemoglobin has a lower oxygen affinity, slightly smaller and pH-dependent co-operativity, a somewhat greater Bohr effect, and a smaller effect of organic phosphates such as 2,3-diphosphoglycerate and inositol hexaphosphate on oxygen affinity as compared to natural human hemoglobin. Upon substitution of cobalt for iron, these oxygenation characteristics of opossum hemoglobin relative to those of human hemoglobin were preserved well. The behavior of the intrinsic oxygen association constants pertaining to the four oxygenation steps (i.e. the Adair constants) upon addition of the organic phosphates or pH changes indicates that the allosteric equilibrium in opossum hemoglobin is biased towards the T state as compared with that in human hemoglobin, and that the oxygen affinity of the R structure is lower for opossum hemoglobin than for human hemoglobin. The temperature-jump kinetic data indicate that the lower oxygen affinity of opossum cobalt-hemoglobin in comparison with that of human cobalt-hemoglobin can be ascribed to a decreased oxygen association rate constant. The electron paramagnetic resonance experiments on oxy and deoxy opossum and human cobalt-hemoglobins in buffered H2O and 2H2O, including their photolysed products at a low temperature, provided the following information. The cobaltous ion of the α subunits of deoxy opossum cobalt-hemoglobin is in an environment that is similar to that for cobaltous ions of deoxy human cobalt-hemoglobin in the T state. The hydrogen bond between the bound oxygen and the residue at E7, which has been shown to exist in oxy human cobalt-hemoglobin and oxy sperm whale cobalt-myoglobin, is absent or, at least, significantly altered in the α subunits of oxy opossum cobalt-hemoglobin, probably resulting in a lower oxygen affinity. Interference by isoleucine at E11α with an oxygen molecule is suggested as an explanation for the lowered affinity of opossum iron-hemoglobin. However, no straightforward structural explanation is available for the lower oxygen affinity of the R structure and the allosteric equilibrium biased towards the T state in opossum iron-hemoglobin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-565
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1980 Dec 25

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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