Structural transitions upon ligand binding in a cooperative dimeric hemoglobin

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Science  03 Aug 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4968, pp. 518-521
DOI: 10.1126/science.2382132

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Comparison of the 2.4 angstrom resolution crystal structures of dimeric clam hemoglobin in the deoxygenated and carbon-monoxide liganded states shows how radically different the structural basis for cooperative oxygen binding is from that operative in mammalian hemoglobins. Heme groups are in direct communication across a novel subunit interface formed by the E and F helices. The conformational changes at this interface that accompany ligand binding are more dramatic at a tertiary level but more subtle at a quaternary level than those in mammalian hemoglobins. These findings suggest a cooperative mechanism that links ligation at one subunit with potentiation of affinity at the second subunit.

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