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1.  Tertiary and quaternary allostery in HbII from Scapharca inaequivalvis 
Biochemistry  2013;52(12):10.1021/bi301620x.
The clam Scapharca inaequivalvis possesses two cooperative oxygen binding hemoglobins in its red cells: a homodimeric HbI and a heterotetrameric A2B2 HbII. Each AB dimeric half of HbII is assembled very similarly to that of the well studied HbI. This study presents crystal structures of HbII along with oxygen binding data both in the crystalline state and in wet nanoporous silica gels. Despite very similar ligand-linked structural transitions observed in HbI and HbII crystals, HbII in the crystal or encapsulated in silica gels apparently exhibits minimal cooperativity in oxygen binding, in contrast with the full cooperativity exhibited by HbI crystals. However, oxygen binding curves in the crystal indicate the presence of a significant functional inequivalence of A and B chains. When this inequivalence is taken into account, both crystal and R state gel functional data are consistent with the conservation of a tertiary contribution to cooperative oxygen binding, quantitatively similar to that measured for HbI, and are in keeping with the structural information. Furthermore, our results indicate that to fully express the cooperative ligand binding, HbII requires quaternary transitions hampered by crystal lattice and gel encapsulation, revealing greater complexity in cooperative function than the direct communication across a dimeric interface observed in HbI.
doi:10.1021/bi301620x
PMCID: PMC3742685  PMID: 23458680
X-ray crystallography; microspectrophotometry; silica gel; cooperativity; hemoglobin
2.  Low affinity PEGylated hemoglobin from Trematomus bernacchii, a model for hemoglobin-based blood substitutes 
BMC Biochemistry  2011;12:66.
Background
Conjugation of human and animal hemoglobins with polyethylene glycol has been widely explored as a means to develop blood substitutes, a novel pharmaceutical class to be used in surgery or emergency medicine. However, PEGylation of human hemoglobin led to products with significantly different oxygen binding properties with respect to the unmodified tetramer and high NO dioxygenase reactivity, known causes of toxicity. These recent findings call for the biotechnological development of stable, low-affinity PEGylated hemoglobins with low NO dioxygenase reactivity.
Results
To investigate the effects of PEGylation on protein structure and function, we compared the PEGylation products of human hemoglobin and Trematomus bernacchii hemoglobin, a natural variant endowed with a remarkably low oxygen affinity and high tetramer stability. We show that extension arm facilitated PEGylation chemistry based on the reaction of T. bernacchii hemoglobin with 2-iminothiolane and maleimido-functionalyzed polyethylene glycol (MW 5000 Da) leads to a tetraPEGylated product, more homogeneous than the corresponding derivative of human hemoglobin. PEGylated T. bernacchii hemoglobin largely retains the low affinity of the unmodified tetramer, with a p50 50 times higher than PEGylated human hemoglobin. Moreover, it is still sensitive to protons and the allosteric effector ATP, indicating the retention of allosteric regulation. It is also 10-fold less reactive towards nitrogen monoxide than PEGylated human hemoglobin.
Conclusions
These results indicate that PEGylated hemoglobins, provided that a suitable starting hemoglobin variant is chosen, can cover a wide range of oxygen-binding properties, potentially meeting the functional requirements of blood substitutes in terms of oxygen affinity, tetramer stability and NO dioxygenase reactivity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2091-12-66
PMCID: PMC3268738  PMID: 22185675
3.  Haemoglobin-based oxygen carriers: research and reality towards an alternative to blood transfusions 
Blood Transfusion  2010;8(Suppl 3):s59-s68.
doi:10.2450/2010.010S
PMCID: PMC2897202  PMID: 20606751
haemoglobin; oxygen therapy; transfusion; red blood cells

Results 1-3 (3)