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Purification, crystallization and preliminary X‐ray diffraction studies on avian haemoglobin from pigeon (Columba livia)

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Haemoglobin is a physiologically significant metalloprotein that is involved in the exchange of gases for sustaining life. The respiratory system of birds is unique and complex compared with that of mammals. Many investigations of avian haemoglobins have revealed the presence of inositol pentaphosphate (IP5), a principal allosteric effector that is involved in regulation of their function. Structural investigations of avian haemoglobins are presently not adequate to explain their function. Efforts have been made in this direction in order to understand the oxygen‐binding affinity involved in adapting to hypoxia in avian haemoglobins. Fresh whole blood was collected from pigeon (Columba livia) and purified using a DEAE cellulose anion‐exchange chromatographic column. Crystallization of pigeon haemoglobin was accomplished using the hanging‐drop vapour‐diffusion method using PEG 3350 as a precipitant in 50 mM sodium acetate buffer pH 5.5 with 1 M NaCl. Data collection was carried out using a MAR345 image‐plate detector system. The crystals diffracted to 2 Å resolution. Pigeon haemoglobin crystallizes in a triclinic space group, with two whole biological molecules in the asymmetric unit and with unit‐cell parameters a = 55.005, b = 65.528, c = 104.370 Å, α = 78.742, β = 89.819, γ = 65.320°.
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Keywords: allosteric effectors; avian haemoglobins; oxygen affinity; triclinic

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre of Advanced Study in Crystallography and Biophysics, University of Madras, Guindy Campus, Chennai 600 025, India

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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