J.C. REVY, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY J.C. REVY, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Molecular computer model of the structure of haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying substance of human blood. This representation shows haemoglobin's tetrameric structure, consisting of four polypeptide chains, each folded into a separate subunit. The atomic backbone is coloured as a function of the degree of agitation of the individual atoms. Haemoglobin has the ability to combine reversibly with oxygen, taking it up in the lungs and releasing it through the tissues. Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are literally packed with haemoglobin, containing only very small amounts of other substances.
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