AHSP, also known as ERAF, is a conserved mammalian erythroid protein which belongs to the AHSP family. It is expressed in blood and bone marrow. AHSP facilitates the production of Hemoglobin A by stabilizing free α-globin. It rapidly binds to ferrous α with association (k'(AHSP)) and dissociation (k(AHSP)) rate constants of ≈10 μm(-1) s(-1) and 0.2 s(-1), respectively, at pH 7.4 at 22 ℃. A small slow phase was observed when AHSP binds to excess ferrous αCO. This slow phase appears to be due to cis to trans prolyl isomerization of the Asp(29)-Pro(30) peptide bond in wild-type AHSP because it was absent when αCO was mixed with P30A and P30W AHSP, which are fixed in the trans conformation. This slow phase was also absent when met(Fe(3+))-α reacted with wild-type AHSP, suggesting that met-α is capable of rapidly binding to either Pro(30) conformer. Both wild-type and Pro(30)-substituted AHSPs drive the formation of a met-α hemichrome conformation following binding to either met- or oxy(Fe(2+))-α. The dissociation rate of the met-α·AHSP complex (k(AHSP) ≈ 0.002 s(-1)) is ～100-fold slower than that for ferrous α·AHSP complexes, resulting in a much higher affinity of AHSP for met-α. Thus, in vivo, AHSP acts as a molecular chaperone by rapidly binding and stabilizing met-α hemichrome folding intermediates. The low rate of met-α dissociation also allows AHSP to have a quality control function by kinetically trapping ferric α and preventing its incorporation into less stable mixed valence Hemoglobin A tetramers. Reduction of AHSP-bound met-α allows more rapid release to β subunits to form stable fully, reduced hemoglobin dimers and tetramers.