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Biochem J. 1989 Jul 1;261(1):137-43.

The mobilization of ferritin iron by liver cytosol. A comparison of xanthine and NADH as reducing substrates.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Richmond, VA 23173.


Considerable evidence suggests that the release of iron from ferritin is a reductive process. A role in this process has been proposed for two hepatic enzymes, namely xanthine oxidoreductase and an NADH oxidoreductase. The abilities of xanthine and NADH to serve as a source of reducing power for the enzyme-mediated release of ferritin iron (ferrireductase activity) were compared with turkey liver and rat liver homogenates. The maximal velocity (Vmax.) for the reaction with NADH was 50 times greater than with xanthine; however, the substrate concentration required to achieve half-maximal velocity (Km) was 1000 times less with xanthine than with NADH. NADPH could be substituted for NADH with little loss in activity. Dicoumarol did not inhibit the reaction with NADH or NADPH, demonstrating that the ferrireductase activity with those substrates was not the result of the liver enzyme 'DT-diaphorase' [NAD(P)H dehydrogenase (quinone)]. A flavin nucleotide was required for ferrireductase activity with rat and turkey liver cytosol when xanthine, NADH or NADPH was used as the reducing substrate. FMN yielded twice the activity with NADH or NADPH, whereas FAD was twice as effective with xanthine as substrate. Kinetic comparisons, differences in lability and partial chromatographic resolution of the ferrireductase activities with the two types of reducing substrates strongly indicate that the ferrireductase activities with xanthine and NADH are catalysed by separate enzyme systems contained in liver cytosol. Complete inhibition by allopurinol of the ferrireductase activity endogenous to undialysed liver cytosol preparations and the ability of xanthine to restore equivalent activity to dialysed preparations indicate that the source of reducing power for the endogenous activity is xanthine. These studies suggest that xanthine, NADH or NADPH can serve as a source of reducing power for the enzyme-mediated reduction of ferritin iron, with a flavin nucleotide serving as the shuttle of electrons from the enzymes to the ferritin iron.

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