Recombinant hemoglobins with low oxygen affinity and high cooperativity.
By introducing an additional H-bond in the alpha(1)beta(2) subunit interface or altering the charge properties of the amino acid residues in the alpha(1)beta(1) subunit interface of the hemoglobin molecule, we have designed and expressed recombinant hemoglobins (rHbs) with low oxygen affinity and high cooperativity. Oxygen-binding measurements of these rHbs under various experimental conditions show interesting properties in response to pH (Bohr effect) and allosteric effectors. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance studies show that these rHbs can switch from the oxy (or CO) quaternary structure (R) to the deoxy quaternary structure (T) without changing their ligation states upon addition of an allosteric effector, inositol hexaphosphate, and/or reduction of the ambient temperature. These results indicate that if we can provide extra stability to the T state of the hemoglobin molecule without perturbing its R state, we can produce hemoglobins with low oxygen affinity and high cooperativity. Some of these rHbs are also quite stable against autoxidation compared to many of the known abnormal hemoglobins with altered oxygen affinity and cooperativity. These results have provided new insights into the structure-function relationship in hemoglobin.