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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(6):1251-7. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

Influence of HbCO structure of the bar-headed goose on photolysis thermodynamics as studied by the nanosecond laser-ultrasonic technique.

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Laboratory of Modern Acoustics, School of Physics, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.


The bar-headed goose, a specialized high-altitude species, has a capacity for high oxygen uptake from a hypoxic environment. It thus has a higher oxygen affinity than other bird species of lower-altitude environments. Oxygen affinity is determined by molecular structures and genetic mutations of hemoglobin (Hb), which can also influence the coordinating structures and dynamics of oxygen-Hb. To explore the structural differences in Hbs as between high and low altitude species, photolysis dynamic parameters, including quantum yield, enthalpy, and conformational volume changes in carboxy-Hbs (HbCO) for the bar-headed goose and low altitude counterparts (the Chinese goose and chicken) were investigated by the laser pumping-probing technique and photoacoustic calorimetry. Comparing the photolysis results for HbCO of the three species, the enthalpy and conformational volume changes of the bar-headed goose were much smaller than those of the others, although the quantum yields of all three species are similar. To explain the possible mechanisms of these differences, modifications of salt bridges and key residue mutations at the α β subunit interfaces of the proteins are described and discussed briefly.

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