To provide quantitative information on the sites that promote polymerization of sickle hemoglobin (HbS) after formation of the initial hydrophobic bond involving Val-6(beta) [E6V(beta)] and also to provide hemoglobins with an enhanced polymerization that could be used in a mouse model for sickle cell anemia, we have expressed recombinant double, triple, and quadruple HbS mutants with substitutions on both the alpha- and beta-chains, E6V(beta)/E121R(beta), D75Y(alpha)/E6V(beta)/E121R(beta) and D6A(alpha)/D75Y(alpha)/E6V(beta)/E121R(beta). These recombinant hemoglobins were extensively characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography analysis, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, isoelectric focusing, amino acid analysis, and mass spectroscopy. They retained the functional properties of the Hb tetramer and polymerized in a linear manner at progressively lower Hb concentration as a function of the degree of substitution, suggesting that these remote sites (alphaD6A, alphaD75Y, and betaE121R) on the alpha- and beta-chains exhibit additive, enhanced polymerization properties. The quadruple mutant has a polymerization concentration close to that of the purified SAD hemoglobin from transgenic mouse red blood cells consisting of HbS, Hb Antilles, and Hb D-Punjab. Normal mouse Hb increases the polymerization concentration of each mutant. Thus, the general approach of using recombinant Hbs as described here should prove useful in elucidating the quantitative aspects of the mechanism of HbS polymerization and in identifying the contribution of individual sites to the overall process. The strategy described here demonstrates the feasibility of a systematic approach to achieve future recombinant HbS mutants that could provide a new generation of the transgenic mouse model for sickle cell anemia.