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J Histochem Cytochem. 1985 Jan;33(1):59-64.

Ultrastructural immunocytochemical localization of the transferrin receptor using a monoclonal antibody in human KB cells.


Using a monoclonal antibody (HB21) against the human transferrin receptor, we have localized this receptor in cultured KB human carcinoma cells by fluorescence and ultrastructural immunocytochemistry. The receptor was found diffusely distributed on the cell surface, concentrated in clathrin-coated pits of the cell surface, in intracellular endocytic vesicles (receptosomes) derived from coated pits, in tubular elements of the trans-reticular Golgi system, and in microtubule-associated membranous elements thought to be part of the constitutive exocytic system. This distribution is the same as that previously shown for labeled transferrin in these same cells (Willingham MC, Hanover JA, Dickson BB, Pastan J: Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 81:175, 1984). No significant amounts of receptor were found in lysosomes. An aggregation of membranous elements containing this receptor was found in the pericentriolar region of cells during mitosis. Together with the previous data on the immunocytochemical localization of transferrin, these results suggest that the transferrin receptor may constitutively enter and exit KB cells by endocytosis and exocytosis, carrying bound transferrin into and out of the cell for the purpose of supplying iron from the extracellular environment for cell growth.

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