1. Addition of 2 moles of mersalyl, mercuric chloride, p-chloromercuribenzoate (PCMB), or methyl mercury hydroxide per mole of hemoglobin greatly reduces heme-heme interactions (n), yet these substances have quite different effects on the oxygen affinity (-log p50). Mersalyl and mercuric chloride at this concentration each increase the oxygen affinity, while PCMB and methyl mercury have little or no effect on the oxygen affinity. These effects are primarily associated with the binding of —SH groups, and are largely reversed on the addition of glutathione. —SH groups do not appear to be responsible for the Bohr effect.
2. Evidence is presented for the belief that the two hemes of each half-molecule of horse hemoglobin are situated on either side of a cluster of—SH groups.
3. The mechanism of interaction between the hemes is discussed. It is concluded that the reorganization of the protein architecture which accompanies oxygenation plays a central role in this interaction, in agreement with the views of Pauling and Wyman.