Send to

Choose Destination
Cell. 1994 Jul 15;78(1):75-86.

A novel heterodimeric transferrin receptor encoded by a pair of VSG expression site-associated genes in T. brucei.

Author information

Department of Molecular Biology, University of Brussels, Rhode St. Genèse, Belgium.


In T. brucei, a transferrin-binding protein has been found to share sequence homology with pESAG-7 and -6, the products of two related genes present in the VSG gene polycistronic transcription unit. When expressed in Xenopus oocytes, they appear as N-glycosylated proteins secreted in the medium (pESAG-7) and GPI anchored to the membrane (pESAG-6). These proteins are able to homo- or heterodimerize, probably through association in the same orientation. Only heterodimers can bind Tf, possibly two molecules per dimer. A comparison of Tf binding to pESAG-7/6-expressing oocytes and trypanosomes suggests that pESAG-7/6 is the Tf receptor of the parasite. In trypanosomes, the majority of pESAG-7/6 is released from the membrane and associates, together with Tf, with a glycosylated matrix present in the lumen of the flagellar pocket. Both pESAG-7/6 and Tf are internalized via coated pits and vesicles. These observations suggest a novel mode of Tf binding and uptake in trypanosomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center