The number and variety of known compounrjs between proteins and small molecules are increasing rapidly and make a fascinating story. For instance, there are the compounds of iron, which is carried in our blood plasma by a globulin, two atoms of iron to each molecule of globulin held in a rather tight salt-lie binding? which is stored as ferric hydroxide by ferritin much as water is held by a sponge? and which functions in hemoglobin, four iron atoms in tight porphyrin complexes in each protein molecule. Or, there are many compounds of serum albumin, which was used during the war by many chemists, most of whom found at least one 6ew compound. This molecule, which has about a hundred carboxyl radicals, each of which can take on a proton, and about the same number of ammonium radicals, each of which can dissociate a proton, has one single radical which combines with mercuric ion so firmly that two albumin molecules will share one mercury atom if there are not enough to go a r ~ u n d . ~ At the present stage of rapid growth of known compounds, it seems more profitable for me to make no
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences – Wiley
Published: May 1, 1949
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