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Protein Sci. 1996 Apr;5(4):775-81.

Subunit dissociations in natural and recombinant hemoglobins.

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Northeastern University, Department of Biology, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


A precise and rapid procedure employing gel filtration on Superose-12 to measure the tetramer-dimer dissociation constants of some natural and recombinant hemoglobins in the oxy conformation is described. Natural sickle hemoglobin was chosen to verify the validity of the results by comparing the values with those reported using an independent method not based on gel filtration. Recombinant sickle hemoglobin, as well as a sickle double mutant with a substitution at the Val-6(beta) receptor site, had approximately the same dissociation constant as natural sickle hemoglobin. Of the two recombinant hemoglobins with amino acid replacements in the alpha 1 beta 2 subunit interface, one was found to be extensively dissociated and the other completely dissociated. In addition, the absence of an effect of the allosteric regulators DPG and IHP on the dissociation constant was demonstrated. Thus, a tetramer dissociation constant can now be determined readily and used together with other criteria for characterization of hemoglobins and their interaction with small regulatory molecules.

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