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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2004 Nov;36(11):2137-43.

Transferrin receptor 1.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


With the discovery that transferrin serves as the iron source for hemoglobin-synthesizing immature red blood cells came the demonstration that a cell surface receptor, now known as transferrin receptor 1, is required for iron delivery from transferrin to cells. (A recently described second transferrin receptor, with as yet poorly understood function, will not be discussed in this brief review.) In succeeding years transferrin receptor 1 was established as a gatekeeper for regulating iron uptake by most cells, and the transferrin-to-cell endocytic pathway characterized in detail. HFE, the protein incriminated in the pathogenesis of hereditary hemochromatosis, a disorder of progressive and toxic iron overload, competes with transferrin for binding to receptor, thereby impeding the uptake of iron from transferrin. Mutation of HFE destroys this competition, thus facilitating access of transferrin and its iron to cells. Availability of the crystal structure of transferrin receptor 1, along with those of transferrin and HFE, opened research on molecular mapping of the transferrin-HFE- transferrin receptor interfaces by correlated synchrotron-generated hydroxyl radical footprinting and cryo-electron microscopy. The emerging challenge is to relate structure to the functional effects of receptor binding on the iron-binding and iron-releasing properties of transferrin within the iron-dependent cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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