Movement of CO2

by Kevin Ahern, PhD

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    So, we've seen hemoglobin does some really remarkable things. One of the things that I have not talked about is how hemoglobin is affected by carbon dioxide, and that's what I want to spend just a little bit of time talking about here. Carbon dioxide is moved in the body by a couple of processes, one of which involves hemoglobin. Now, I want to emphasize first of all, that carbon monoxide can bind to the heme unit and compete with oxygen because it has a shape very much like an oxygen molecule. Carbon dioxide cannot do that. It binds to a different portion of hemoglobin. So what I'm talking about here is not competing with oxygen, but rather binding to another part of the hemoglobin molecule. That binding the other part of the hemoglobin also causes some changes in hemoglobin which is why the hemoglobin releases the oxygen molecule. Well, let's look at the path that a carbon dioxide molecule takes in going from a rapidly metabolizing tissue to get back to the lungs so that it can be exhaled. We see carbon dioxide at the very top and we see the carbon dioxide can combine with hemoglobin. And when this happens in the presence of protons, oxygen is released and the carbon dioxide is bound to the hemoglobin as you can see here. That only accounts for a relatively small portion of the carbon dioxide that needs to travel back to the lungs. The remainder of the carbon dioxide gets solubilized and it gets solubilized by an enzyme that converts carbon dioxide into carbonic acid as you can see here. The enzyme is known as carbonic anhydrase and it's a very, very efficient enzyme producing carbonic acid the bottom molecule shown right here. Well, carbonic acid is an acid...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Movement of CO2 by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course Amino Acid Metabolism.

    Author of lecture Movement of CO2

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD

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