Y

This equation states that the ratio of oxygenated heme groups (Y) to O2-free heme (1 - Y) is equal to the nth power of the pO2 divided by the apparent dissociation constant, K.

Archibald Hill demonstrated in 1913, well before any knowledge about the molecular organization of Hb existed, that the O2-binding behavior of Hb could be described by Equation (A15.12). If a value of 2.8 is taken for n, Equation (A15.12) fits the experimentally observed O2-binding curve for Hb very well (Figure A15.4). If the binding of O2 to Hb were an all-or-none phenomenon,

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