Chapter 22. Hemoglobin


Szymon Płaneta, Dorota Bartusik-Aebisher and David Aebisher
Medical College of the University of Rzeszów, Poland

Part of the book: The Biochemical Guide to Proteins


Hemoglobin is a quaternary protein composed of four interconnected protein chains. In an adult human hemoglobin is most often composed of two α-globin chains and two β-globin chains. Hemoglobin is found in red blood cells and its main function is to carry oxygen (O2) molecules around the human body from the lungs to the rest of the body. A separate book can be written about this protein because all the material cannot be included in one chapter. However, there are a huge number of types of hemoglobin, many of which, whose structure has been disturbed by mutations in the genes coding for them, cause serious life-threatening diseases. The best known is sickle cell anemia, where errors in the structure of β chains cause abnormal, sickle-shaped structure of erythrocytes. This ultimately leads to anemia and can also lead to numerous congestion and death.

Keywords: hemoglobin, protoporphyrin, decarboxylation, oxygen, aminolevulinic acid (ALA)


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