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Published October 10, 1980 | public
Journal Article

Complete Amino Acid Sequences of the Major Early Embryonic α-Like Globins of the Chicken


Vertebrate embryos contain hemoglobins composed of globin polypeptides structurally distinct from those of adults. Together with fetal and adult globin chains, these early embryonic globins are encoded by two developmentally regulated multigene families. To facilitate analysis of the structure and evolution of early embryonic α-globin genes, we have determined the complete amino acid sequences of the π and π' α-like globins of the chick embryo. While differing from each other by an alanine/glutamic acid interchange at position 124, this pair of sequences differs from the major and minor adult α-globins by 43%. The early embryonic and adult α-like sequences appear to have diverged following an ancient gene duplication. We discuss specific amino acid substitutions in functional positions as possible mediators of the reduced Bohr effect and elevated oxygen affinity, which are characteristic of early embryonic hemoglobins.

Additional Information

© 1980 by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Received for publication, March 4, 1980, and in revised form, May 30, 1980. This research was supported by National Research Service Award F32 HL05553 (to B. S. C.) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, by Grants PCM 76-02859 and PCM 78-20767 (to A. J. T.) from the National Science Foundation, and by Grant GM-06965 (to L. E. H.) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked "advertisement" in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact. We thank Dr. Elizabeth Heidner for helpful discussions, Margaret Kowalczyk for illustrations, and Vince Farnsworth for help with the amino acid analyzer.

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