1. 1. The effects of pH and organic phosphate on the equilibrium and kinetic properties of the binding of ligands to the hemoglobins of two related Amazonian fish, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, an obligate water breather, and Arapaima gigas, an obligate air breather, have been studied. 2. 2. The hemoglobins of both fish exhibit a Root effect, and the minimum oxygen affinity is associated with the complete loss of cooperative ligand binding. 3. 3. In this low affinity, T state, there is great subunit heterogeneity in both hemoglobins as evidenced by Hill coefficients well below unity and biphasic carbon monoxide combination kinetics. 4. 4. The greatest difference in the properties of the hemoglobins of these two fish is found at high pH (above pH 8) where both hemoglobins exhibit their highest ligand affinities. Here the hemoglobins differ both in the affinity and cooperatively with which they bind ligands, Arapaima hemoglobin having the lowest affinity but the highest cooperativity. © 1979.
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