Q:

What is the major function of hemoglobin?

A:

Quick Answer

The major function of hemoglobin is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues and then transport carbon dioxide out of the tissue back to the lungs. Each red blood cell contains approximately 280 million hemoglobin molecules.

Know More
What is the major function of hemoglobin?
Credit: PASIEKA Science Photo Library Getty Images

Full Answer

A molecule of hemoglobin is made up of several smaller pieces. There are four polypeptide chains with each of those containing a single heme group. The key to processing the oxygen is the iron contained in each heme group. The iron molecules can each absorb one molecule of oxygen. This gives each hemoglobin the ability to transport four oxygen molecules.

There are two types of hemoglobin, which are the oxyhemoglobin and the deoxyhemoglobin. Oxyhemoglobin has a higher affinity for oxygen and the deoxyhemoglobin is more attracted to carbon dioxide. This means that the oxygen in the lungs binds to the oxyhemoglobin to be transported into the body and be absorbed. The deoxyhemoglobin picks up the carbon dioxide that is left after the body absorbs the oxygen and takes it back to the lungs to complete its process.

An important piece in the transportation of oxygen by hemoglobin is the molecules affinity to the oxygen. When hemoglobin picks up its first molecule of oxygen the affinity actually increases so that it picks up more oxygen. This domino effect continues until the molecule is full of oxygen.

Learn more about Cells

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the major function of the thyroid gland?

    A:

    The major function of the thyroid gland is to produce thyroid hormones, according to HowStuffWorks. One hormone is called thyroxine and the other triiodothyronine, or T4 and T3. Together, they regulate the growth and development of nearly every system in the body.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of hemoglobin?

    A:

    InnovateUs states that the main function of hemoglobin is transporting oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. It is an important chemical in red blood cells that carries oxygen, and performs different effect modulation and gas transport duties.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of lymph nodes in lungs?

    A:

    Lymph nodes and lymph vessels, including those found in the lungs, are part of the body's immune system, and they transport waste material and fluids from tissues throughout the body, states the American Cancer Society. The liquid they transport is called lymph fluid, which contains oxygen, nutrients, viruses and white blood cells.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of hemoglobin in the blood?

    A:

    Hemoglobin is a red protein found in the red blood cells of vertebrates that carries oxygen from the lungs to body tissues. Hemoglobin also carries carbon dioxide from body tissues back to the lungs.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore