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Hemoglobin and Movement of Oxygen: Introduction

by Kevin Ahern, PhD
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    One of the most important and most interesting proteins in our body is hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen throughout our tissues and supplies the oxygen that our cells need to be alive. Now, animals have very widely varying needs for oxygen. They're very different from plants for example. The demand for oxygen can change in seconds. The basal needs of oxygen that are cells have are significant, and so we can't rely on oxygen that gets through our tissues by diffusion like insects can do. Exercise, fight-or-flight issues and other things like exercise add to the need that our body has for oxygen. Now, the reason oxygen is important is because ATP, the sort of gasoline of our body, ATP energy is produce 15 times more efficiently when oxygen is present than when oxygen is absent. That is anaerobically. So respiration using oxygen is much more efficient that fermentation which is what happens during the anabolic or the anaerobic process. Efficient, adaptable oxygen deliver is therefore essential and fortunately we have that in the form of hemoglobin. Now, hemoglobin has a structure like you can see on the left. It has four individual polypeptide chains: two identical units shown in blue and two identical units shown in red. These are known as alpha 2 beta 2: two alpha units and two beta units. And they're very, very similar in structure, but they're not identical. Each of those individual units of hemoglobin contains a molecule known as heme. And heme is the portion of the hemoglobin molecule that carries the oxygen. It actually physically holds onto it using an atom of iron. Myoglobin is a related compound. Structurally, it's very similar to the one of the four units of hemoglobin. In fact, it's similar to all four because the betas...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Hemoglobin and Movement of Oxygen: Introduction by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course Amino Acid Metabolism.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. All of the answers are true.
    2. It is important to animals with widely varying oxygen needs.
    3. It provides oxygen for more efficient ATP synthesis. 2.
    4. It reduces in anaerobic conditions.
    5. None of the answers are true.
    1. ...has a donut shape.
    2. ...includes four alpha subunits? 3.
    3. ...includes four beta subunits.
    4. None of the answers are true.
    5. All of the answers are true.
    1. It binds oxygen in the Fe++ form.
    2. It has ferrous iron in the methemoglobin form.
    3. It is comprised of amino acids.
    4. All of the answers are true.
    5. None of the answers are true.
    1. None of the answers are true.
    2. The binding of oxygen raises the entire heme group.
    3. The iron is bound by four nitrogens of the protoporphyrin ring and by cysteine below.
    4. The protoporphyrin ring is oval-shaped in the absence of oxygen.
    5. All of the answers are true.

    Author of lecture Hemoglobin and Movement of Oxygen: Introduction

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD


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    great lecture
    By Shoug N. on 03. May 2017 for Hemoglobin and Movement of Oxygen: Introduction

    The professor was very clear and his tone was lively :)