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J Biol Chem. 1985 Oct 5;260(22):12198-202.

Heme binding to murine erythroleukemia cells. Evidence for a heme receptor.


Friend virus transformed murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells are known to take up heme from the surrounding medium and to incorporate it into newly synthesized hemoglobin (Granick, J. L., and Sassa, S. (1978) J. Biol. Chem. 253, 5402-5406), but the mechanism of its uptake is unknown. We hypothesized the existence of a specific receptor for heme in the plasma membrane. Using [55Fe]heme, we examined the characteristics of its interaction with MEL cells at 4 degrees C. [55Fe]heme binding reached equilibrium within 4 h, was 80% dissociable by 16 h, and was independent of pH over the range 7.0-8.2. Specific heme binding was linear with cell number, and competitive binding studies with various heme analogues, such as free protoporphyrin IX, metal-substituted protoporphyrin IX, Fe-mesoporphyrin IX, and Fe-deuteroporphyrin IX, revealed significant stereospecificity for Fe-protoporphyrin IX. The dissociation constant of the interaction was 0.03 nM-1 with no evidence of cooperativity or multiple classes of sites. The average number of sites/cell was approximately 10,300. Reduction of binding following preincubation with trypsin, in conjunction with the above data, suggests that this cell type may display a receptor for heme which is comprised, as least in part, of protein.

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