Thursday, April 28, 2011

Protein of the Year!

Hemoglobin deserves your vote for the protein of the year.

Heme groups are labeled in blue

The primary function of Hemoglobin is simple. yet vital.  This protein serves as a transport for oxygen, carbon dioxide and various other gasses throughout the circulatory system.  The transport of oxygen is the primary function and occurs through its binding to heme groups and their iron centers (each hemoglobin contains 4 heme groups by the way).  The vital aspect of this function comes from the high energy demands of active muscles.  Oxygen is required for the efficient breakdown of glucose into ATP for energy used by all muscles, and little of it is transported outside of hemoglobin.  Without oxygen, the process of breaking down glucose becomes much less efficient in the amount of energy produced, and lactic acid begins to build up as a bi-product of this secondary process (I am sure that you have felt this after going for a long run on a warm and sunny day).Thus, without hemoglobin transporting oxygen to your muscles through the bloodstream, you would eventually run out of fuel faster than you are able to obtain it and you can't run on empty. 

That's not all!  Every worthy protein also has its fair share of regulatory mechanisms.  Hemoglobin is so intricately controlled, that basic changes in our activity will directly effect its affinity for oxygen.  The big 3 controls of hemoglobin oxygen affinity are carbon dioxide,  pH and temperature.  As  carbon dioxide levels increase, as pH decreases, and as temperature increases the oxygen affinity of hemoglobin will decrease, causing the protein to release more oxygen.  Contemplate on this for a moment, working muscle experiences all of these factors that call for the release of more oxygen, allowing for increased efficient energy production for prolonged function.  

The question now becomes, if hemoglobin does so much for me, what can I do for it?  The answer to that is to vote for hemoglobin as protein of the year!  Let everyone know your appreciation of the greatest protein that never lets up.

 Circulatory, Lymphatic and Immune Systems. N.p., 2008. Web. 27 Apr. 2011. <>. 

Hemoglobin. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2011. <>.

Friday, March 18, 2011

In case the importance of Hemoglobin was in question...

The Function of Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin’s main role in the body is to act as an oxygen delivery system.  Hemoglobin can be found within red blood cells, and as they pass by the lungs the hemoglobin pick up oxygen.  As the red blood cells continue to travel through the body, the hemoglobin are able to release the oxygen, thus spreading it to tissues throughout the body.  The mechanism behind this lies within the equilibrium of T and R states.  This and other functionalities of the hemoglobin mechanism are further explored in this article…

Hemoglobin Disorders
Many diseases are inherited through genetic information, and are sometimes labeled as mendelian disorders.  The most common of these disorders arise from hemoglobin dysfunction and include sickle cell anemia.  This disease is caused by a structural mutation of an amino acid in the hemoglobin, which can lead to the sickeling shape of their red blood cell hosts.  Information on potential avenues of modifying the genes involved in diseases like sickle cell anemia can have great clinical effects, and are discussed within

Anemia and frailty
Anemia is an increasingly evident disorder found within the elderly, caused by a lack of oxygen being delivered to body tissue.  An obvious component of this disorder is hemoglobin.  Clinical trails aimed at determining if improved hemoglobin can reduce anemic symptoms as a form of treatment are discussed at length in this article, as treatment and understanding of common disorders are pivotal advancements.