Haemin and protoporphyrin IX, but not bilirubin, are extensively bound by human spectrin. The absorption spectrum of the bound haemin is indicative of coordination of the iron by nitrogenous ligands in the protein. The protoporphyrin IX generates difference spectra on binding, which change with ligand:protein ratio, showing the existence of at least two structurally distinct types of site. The binding of both ligands is complex, and may be cooperative. Binding isotherms, based on spectrophotometric titrations, are given. Haemin and protoporphyrin IX also bind strongly to erythrocyte ghosts. At ionic strengths near physiological we can find no evidence of binding of haemoglobin to spectrin, as judged by sedimentation velocity, and it appears that reported interactions of this nature represent only non-specific binding at low ionic strength.

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