Ligand binding properties and structural studies of recombinant and chemically modified hemoglobins altered at beta 93 cysteine.

To investigate the roles of beta93 cysteine in human normal adult hemoglobin (Hb A), we have constructed four recombinant mutant hemoglobins (rHbs), rHb (betaC93G), rHb (betaC93A), rHb (betaC93M), and rHb (betaC93L), and have prepared two chemically modified Hb As, Hb A-IAA and Hb A-NEM, in which the sulfhydryl group at beta93Cys is modified by sulfhydryl reagents, iodoacetamide (IAA) and N-ethylmaleimide (NEM), respectively. These variants at the beta93 position show higher oxygen affinity, lower cooperativity, and reduced Bohr effect relative to Hb A. The response of some of these Hb variants to allosteric effectors, 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate (2,3-BPG) and inositol hexaphosphate (IHP), is decreased relative to that of Hb A. The proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of these Hb variants show that there is a marked influence on the proximal heme pocket of the beta-chain, whereas the environment of the proximal heme pocket of the alpha-chain remains unchanged as compared to Hb A, suggesting that higher oxygen affinity is likely to be determined by the heme pocket of the beta-chain rather than by that of the alpha-chain. This is further supported by NO titration of these Hbs in the deoxy form. For Hb A, NO binds preferentially to the heme of the alpha-chain relative to that of the beta-chain. In contrast, the feature of preferential binding to the heme of the alpha-chain becomes weaker and even disappears for Hb variants with modifications at beta93Cys. The effects of IHP on these Hbs in the NO form are different from those on HbNO A, as characterized by (1)H NMR spectra of the T-state markers, the exchangeable resonances at 14 and 11 ppm, reflecting that these Hb variants have more stability in the R-state relative to Hb A, especially rHb (betaC93L) and Hb A-NEM in the NO form. The changes of the C2 proton resonances of the surface histidyl residues in these Hb variants in both the deoxy and CO forms, compared with those of Hb A, indicate that a mutation or chemical modification at beta93Cys can result in conformational changes involving several surface histidyl residues, e.g., beta146His and beta2His. The results obtained here offer strong evidence to show that the salt bridge between beta146His and beta94Asp and the binding pocket of allosteric effectors can be affected as the result of modifications at beta93Cys, which result in the destabilization of the T-state and a reduced response of these Hbs to allosteric effectors. We further propose that the impaired alkaline Bohr effect can be attributed to the effect on the contributions of several surface histidyl residues which are altered because of the environmental changes caused by mutations and chemical modifications at beta93Cys.