Alpha-hemoglobin-stabilizing protein (AHSP): a modulatory factor in β-thalassemia

Int J Hematol. 2020 Mar;111(3):352-359. doi: 10.1007/s12185-019-02806-8. Epub 2020 Jan 1.


Hemoglobin (Hb) is an iron-containing metalloprotein that transports oxygen molecules from the lungs to the rest of the human body. Among the different variants of Hb, HbA1 is the most common and is composed of two alpha (αHb) and two beta globin chains (βHb) constructing a heterotetrameric protein complex (α2β2). Due to the higher number of AHSP genes, there is a tendency to produce approximately twice as much of α subunit as β subunit. Therefore, there is a chance of presenting excess α subunit leftover in human blood plasma; excess subunits subsequently bind with each other and aggregates β-thalassemia occurs due to lack of or reduced numbers of βHb subunit. Alpha-hemoglobin-stabilizing protein (AHSP) is a scavenger protein which acts as a molecular chaperon by reversibly binding with free αHb forming a complex (AHSP-αHb) that prevents aggregation and precipitation preventing deleterious effects towards developing serious human diseases including β-thalassemia. Clinical severity worsens if mutations in AHSP gene co-occur in patients with β-thalassemia. Considering the mechanism of action of AHSP and its contribution to ameliorating β-thalassemia severity, it could potentially be used as a modulatory agent in the treatment of β-thalassemia.

Keywords: AHSP; Chaperone; Hemoglobin; β-Thalassemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Proteins / genetics*
  • Blood Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics*
  • Molecular Chaperones / physiology*
  • beta-Thalassemia / genetics*


  • AHSP protein, human
  • Blood Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones