Hemoglobin allostery: new views on old players.

Abstract : Proteins are dynamic molecular machines whose structure and function are modulated by environmental perturbations and natural selection. Allosteric regulation, discovered in 1963 as a novel molecular mechanism of enzymatic adaptation [Monod, Changeux & Jacob (1963). J. Mol. Biol.6, 306-329], seems to be the leit motiv of enzymes and metabolic pathways, enabling fine and quick responses toward external perturbations. Hemoglobin (Hb), the oxygen transporter of all vertebrates, has been for decades the paradigmatic system to test the validity of the conformational selection mechanism, the conceptual innovation introduced by Monod, Wyman and Changeux. We present hereby the results of a comparative analysis of structure, function and thermodynamics of two extensively investigated hemoglobins: human HbA and trout HbI. They represent a unique and challenging comparison to test the general validity of the stereochemical model proposed by Perutz. Indeed both proteins are ideal for the purpose being very similar yet very different. In fact, T-HbI is a low-ligand-affinity cooperative tetrameric Hb, insensitive to all allosteric effectors. This remarkable feature, besides being physiologically sound, supports the stereochemical model, given that the six residues identified in HbA as responsible for the Bohr and the 2,3-di-phosphoglycerate effects are all mutated. Comparison of the three-dimensional structures of HbA and T-HbI allows unveiling the molecular mechanism whereby the latter has a lower O2 affinity. Moreover, the energetic balance sheet shows that the salt bridges breaking upon allosteric quaternary transition are important yet insufficient to account for the free energy of heme-heme interactions in both hemoglobins.
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Adriana Erica Miele, Andrea Bellelli, Maurizio Brunori. Hemoglobin allostery: new views on old players.. Journal of Molecular Biology, Elsevier, 2013, 425 (9), pp.1515-26. ⟨10.1016/j.jmb.2012.12.018⟩. ⟨pasteur-01025328⟩

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