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Biosynthetic studies of human fetal hemoglobin


Rogers, Christopher Bruce (1979) Biosynthetic studies of human fetal hemoglobin. Master's thesis, California Institute of Technology.


Previous investigators have found unbalanced synthesis of Hb F, with γ chain synthesized from 30% to 68% as efficiently as α chain. In this report, biosynthetic studies of 9 umbilical cord bloods and 6 sickle-cell bloods with elevated levels of Hb F gave an efficiency of 47 ± 3% for γ-chain synthesis relative to α-chain synthesis. Amino acid analysis of the minor zones in chain separation chromatograms showed that two peaks, one eluting before and one after γ chain, contain products of γ-chain mRNA. These peaks, however, are insufficient to explain the discrepancy in γ-chain synthesis. A likely explanation for the reduced γ-chain synthesis is that γ-chain mRNA may have a shorter effective lifetime than α - or β-chain mRNA. There would thus be a progressive imbalance in Hb F synthesis after the blood cell leaves the bone marrow and mRNA synthesis stops. A timed study of a single cord blood, with times ranging from 2.5 minutes to 4 hours, showed that incorporation of radioactivity into acetylated γ chain begins at a high value and decreases with respect to unmodified γ chain. This implies that the γ chain may be modified either on the ribosome or shortly after release, but in any case earlier than 2.5 minutes after the start of incubation.

Item Type:Thesis (Master's thesis)
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Restricted to Caltech community only
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:15 May 1979
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04022010-090030827
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5677
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Apr 2010 22:41
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 03:24

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