Thursday, October 2, 2008

Protein of the Day #8: Hemoglobin

So I should have called it "Protein of the Week". Ah well. Its the protein of the day, just not every day...

Hemoglobin: its a classic! Don't think that makes it boring. On the contrary, I think it remains a fascinating protein.

Its possible that it deserves the title of most-studied protein. Right now there are 4820 hemoglobin sequences at NCBI. It was discovered in 1851, and the structure solved in 1959 - I think that was the first protein structure found by x-ray crystallography. I could go on and on...

One of my interests in it at the moment is that hemoglobin is the food for the Plasmodium species that cause malaria. Amazingly, they synthesize their own heme groups. Hemoglobin is a funny food though, because of dealing with all those heme units, and Plasmodium has to accumulate hemozoin garbage.

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