How does the structure of Hemoglobin relate to it's function?

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Explain how the structure of hemoglobin relates to its function.
How many molecules of oxygen can one molecule of Hgb hold if it is fully saturated?
asked Jan 8, 2012 in Biology by anonymous

1 Answer

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When the protein structure of Hemoglobin changes shape, it's affinity for oxygen also changes, therefore either increasing or decreasing its affinity for oxygen. When hemoglobin's affinity is greater, the hemoglobin in the blood  near the lungs is able to bind oxygen for transport to regions in need of fresh oxygen.  At which point, hemoglobin will then undergo a structural change and let go of the oxygen for cells to use.
I believe one molecule of hemoglobin can bind to four oxygen molecules when saturated.
answered Jan 8, 2012 by pokemonmaster ~Expert~ (3,847 points)