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Biochemistry. 1999 Oct 5;38(40):13423-32.

Assessment of roles of surface histidyl residues in the molecular basis of the Bohr effect and of beta 143 histidine in the binding of 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate in human normal adult hemoglobin.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Site-directed mutagenesis has been used to construct two mutant recombinant hemoglobins (rHbs), rHb(betaH116Q) and rHb(betaH143S). Purified rHbs were used to assign the C2 proton resonances of beta116His and beta143His and to resolve the ambiguous assignments made over the past years. In the present work, we have identified the C2 proton resonances of two surface histidyl residues of the beta chain, beta116His and beta143His, in both the carbonmonoxy and deoxy forms, by comparing the proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of human normal adult hemoglobin (Hb A) with those of rHbs. Current assignments plus other previous assignments complete the assignments for all 24 surface histidyl residues of human normal adult hemoglobin. The individual pK values of 24 histidyl residues of Hb A were also measured in deuterium oxide (D(2)O) in 0.1 M N-(2-hydroxyethyl)piperazine-N'-2-ethanesulfonic acid (HEPES) buffer in the presence of 0.1 M chloride at 29 degrees C by monitoring the shifts of the C2 proton resonances of the histidyl residues as a function of pH. Among those surface histidyl residues, beta146His has the biggest contribution to the alkaline Bohr effect (63% at pH 7.4), and beta143His has the biggest contribution to the acid Bohr effect (71% at pH 5.1). alpha20His, alpha112His, and beta117His have essentially no contribution; alpha50His, alpha72His, alpha89His, beta97His, and beta116His have moderate positive contributions; and beta2His and beta77His have a moderate negative contribution to the Bohr effect. The sum of the contributions from 24 surface histidyl residues accounted for 86% of the alkaline Bohr effect at pH 7.4 and about 55% of the acid Bohr effect at pH 5.1. Although beta143His is located in the binding site for 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate (2,3-BPG) according to the crystal structure of deoxy-Hb A complexed with 2, 3-BPG, beta143His is not essential for the binding of 2,3-BPG in the neutral pH range according to the proton NMR and oxygen affinity studies presented here. With the accurately measured and assigned individual pK values for all surface histidyl residues, it is now possible to evaluate the Bohr effect microscopically for novel recombinant Hbs with important functional properties, such as low oxygen affinity and high cooperativity. The present study further confirms the importance of a global electrostatic network in regulating the Bohr effect of the hemoglobin molecule.

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