ß-globin, a subunit of hemoglobin, is a small protein (146 amino acids) that transports oxygen throughout our bodies. This protein has a ring-like heme group, which contains an iron atom that binds the oxygen. This subunit also contains the glutamic acid at position 6 that, when changed to valine, results in the sickle cell mutation. Other changes to the β-globin subunit may also result in human disease. Varying severities of betathalassemia can develop as a result of a damaged or completely missing β-globin.
The 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Max Ferdinand Perutz and John Cowdery Kendrew "for their studies of the structures of globular proteins". Max Ferdinand Perutz solved the structure of hemoglobin in 1959.
Molecule of the Month
The Molecule of the Month by scientist, author and artist Dr. David Goodsell includes an introduction to the structure and function of the chosen molecule and a discussion of its relevance to human health and welfare. Molecule of the Month articles are frequently referred to by teachers, students and researchers. More...