The carbon monoxide affinities of iron complexes of meso-tetra (alpha, alpha, alpha, alpha-o-pivalamidophenyl)porphyrin (the "picket fence" porphyrin) and of a "picket fence" porphyrin derivative with an appended axial base have been measured in solution and compared with the CO affinities of various hemoproteins. The model complexes bind CO with much greater affinity than normal hemoproteins; the role of the steric bulk of distal residues in lowering the CO affinities of the hemoproteins is discussed. The significance of this lowered CO affinity is described with regard to endogenous CO. A discussion of mutant hemoglobins lacking distal residues that sterically inhibit the binding of CO is presented. The use of pressure units versus concentration units in equilibrium expressions is analyzed.
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