A schematic visual model of oxygen-binding process, showing all four monomers and hemes, and protein chains only as diagramatic coils, to facilitate visualization into the molecule. Oxygen is not shown in this model, but, for each of the iron atoms, it binds to the iron (red sphere) in the flat heme. For example, in the upper left of the four hemes shown, oxygen binds at the left of the iron atom shown in the upper left of diagram. This causes the iron atom to move backward into the heme which holds it (the iron moves upward as it binds oxygen, in this illustration), tugging the histidine residue (modeled as a red pentagon on the right of the iron) closer, as it does. This, in turn, pulls on the protein chain holding the histidine.