Alkaline Bohr effect of bird hemoglobins: the case of the flamingo

Maria Teresa Sanna, Barbara Manconi, Gabriella Podda, Alessandra Olianas, Magi Pellegrini, Massimo Castagnola, Irene Messana, Bruno Giardina

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The hemoglobin (Hb) substitution His -> GIn at position alpha 89, very common in avian Hbs, is considered to be responsible for the weak Bohr effect of avian Hbs. Phoenicopterus ruber ruber is one of the few avian Hbs that possesses His at alpha 89, but it has not been functionally characterized yet. In the present study the Hb system of the greater flamingo (P. ruber roseus), a bird that lives in Mediterranean areas, has been investigated to obtain further insight into the role played by the alpha 89 residue in determining the strong reduction of the Bohr effect. Functional analysis of the two purified Hb components (HbA and HbD) of P ruber roseus showed that both are characterized by high oxygen affinity in the absence of organic phosphates, a strong modulating effect of inositol hexaphosphate, and a reduced Bohr effect. Indeed, in spite of the close phylogenetic relationship between the two flamingo species, structural analysis based on tandem mass spectrometry of the UA chain of P ruber roseus Hb showed that a Gin residue is present at position alpha 89.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-795
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2007




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