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H-Ferritin Is Preferentially Incorporated by Human Erythroid Cells through Transferrin Receptor 1 in a Threshold-Dependent Manner.

  • Author(s): Sakamoto, Soichiro
  • Kawabata, Hiroshi
  • Masuda, Taro
  • Uchiyama, Tatsuki
  • Mizumoto, Chisaki
  • Ohmori, Katsuyuki
  • Koeffler, H Phillip
  • Kadowaki, Norimitsu
  • Takaori-Kondo, Akifumi
  • et al.

Ferritin is an iron-storage protein composed of different ratios of 24 light (L) and heavy (H) subunits. The serum level of ferritin is a clinical marker of the body's iron level. Transferrin receptor (TFR)1 is the receptor not only for transferrin but also for H-ferritin, but how it binds two different ligands and the blood cell types that preferentially incorporate H-ferritin remain unknown. To address these questions, we investigated hematopoietic cell-specific ferritin uptake by flow cytometry. Alexa Fluor 488-labeled H-ferritin was preferentially incorporated by erythroid cells among various hematopoietic cell lines examined, and was almost exclusively incorporated by bone marrow erythroblasts among human primary hematopoietic cells of various lineages. H-ferritin uptake by erythroid cells was strongly inhibited by unlabeled H-ferritin but was only partially inhibited by a large excess of holo-transferrin. On the other hand, internalization of labeled holo-transferrin by these cells was not inhibited by H-ferritin. Chinese hamster ovary cells lacking functional endogenous TFR1 but expressing human TFR1 with a mutated RGD sequence, which is required for transferrin binding, efficiently incorporated H-ferritin, indicating that TFR1 has distinct binding sites for H-ferritin and holo-transferrin. H-ferritin uptake by these cells required a threshold level of cell surface TFR1 expression, whereas there was no threshold for holo-transferrin uptake. The requirement for a threshold level of TFR1 expression can explain why among primary human hematopoietic cells, only erythroblasts efficiently take up H-ferritin.

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