Myoglobin: An essential hemoprotein in striated muscle

George A. Ordway, Daniel J. Garry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

301 Scopus citations


Myoglobin is a cytoplasmic hemoprotein, expressed solely in cardiac myocytes and oxidative skeletal muscle fibers, that reversibly binds O 2 by its heme residue, a porphyrin ring:iron ion complex. Since the initial discovery of its structure over 40 years ago, wide-ranging work by many investigators has added importantly to our understanding of its function and regulation. Functionally, myoglobin is well accepted as an O2-storage protein in muscle, capable of releasing O2 during periods of hypoxia or anoxia. Myoglobin is also thought to buffer intracellular O2 concentration when muscle activity increases and to facilitate intracellular O2 diffusion by providing a parallel path that augments simple diffusion of dissolved O2. The use of gene targeting and other molecular biological techniques has revealed important new insights into the developmental and environmental regulation of myoglobin and provided additional functions for this hemoprotein such as scavenging nitric oxide and reactive O2 species. These recent findings, coupled with additional emerging technologies and the discovery of other tissue globins, provide a framework for addressing new questions about myoglobin and readdressing old ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3441-3446
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Cardiac myocyte
  • Function
  • Gene targeting
  • Hemoprotein
  • Myoglobin
  • Regulation
  • Skeletal muscle


Dive into the research topics of 'Myoglobin: An essential hemoprotein in striated muscle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this