Intermolecular Contacts in Hemoglobin S

Geis paints the intermolecular contacts in hemoglobin S. The lateral contacts are formed by the interactions between residues 66, 73, 80, 83 and 87 of one beta subunit and a mutant beta 6 valine from an adjacent molecule. The axial contacts are made by interactions along the molecule and include residues 16,17,19,22 and 121. Residues 95,47 and 75 interact through contacts between twisted filaments of the molecule.

Used with permission from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute ( All rights reserved.

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Painting Citation

Dickerson, R. E., & Geis, I. (1983). Hemoglobin: Structure, Function, Evolution, and Pathology. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummings Pub.

Related PDB Entry: 2HBS

Experimental Structure Citation

Ybe, J.A., Brodsky, F.M., Hofmann, K., Lin, K., Liu, S.H., Chen, L., Earnest, T.N., Fletterick, R.J., & Hwang, P.K. (1999) Clathrin self-assembly is mediated by a tandemly repeated superhelix. Nature, 399, 371-375. DOI: 10.1038/20708

About Hemoglobin S

Hemoglobin S is a rare form of the hemoglobin tetramer arising from a mutation in the gene encoding the beta subunit, which changes the normal glutamic acid at position 6 into a hydrophobic valine. As a result of this change in the protein structure, the deoxygenated form of hemoglobin S forms long fibers that distort red blood cells into a characteristic crescent or sickle shape. These distorted cells cause sludging and blockages in capillaries, leading to organ damage and painful crises typical of sickle cell disease--the first molecular disease to be described.