Haemoglobin molecule

Haemoglobin molecule

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Credit: INDIGO MOLECULAR IMAGES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Haemoglobin molecule. Computer artwork showing the tertiary structure of a haemoglobin monomer subunit. Haemoglobin is a metalloprotein that transports oxygen around the body in red blood cells. Each molecule consists of iron-containing haem groups and globin proteins. Each globin protein (blue ribbon) is wrapped around a haem group (copper tubes), protecting it from being oxidised and destroyed by the oxygen it is intended to transport. The iron (silver sphere) within each haem group reversibly bonds to oxygen (gold sphere) and carbon dioxide in the blood. Four of these monomers usually bind together to form one large haemoglobin molecule.

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