Two pathways for iron uptake by guinea pig reticulocytes

Hui Zhan, Simeon Pollack, Janet Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Abstract: We have demonstrated that the intracellular processing of transferrin to effect iron removal involves two pathways, one sensitive to rotenone and the other not. We have also found that the effect of the rotenone is dependent on the transferrin concentration: iron uptake was suppressed with concentrations of transferrin in the micromolar range, and was not suppressed at physiologic concentrations of transferrin. Rotenone does not disturb transferrin's interaction with its extracellular receptor, indicating that its action must be intracellular. The following model is suggested: that separate pathways are entered by transferrin in the cell. The first pathway is preferentially utilized when transferrin is in short supply. It begins with an intracellular site which has a high affinity (and low capacity) for either iron or transferrin. The second pathway begins with an intracellular site which has a high capacity (but low affinity) for either iron or transferrin and is utilized when transferrin is in physiologic concentration (and the low‐capacity, high‐affinity site is saturated); the pathway it initiates is dominant when transferrin is abundant. We speculate that the high‐affinity low‐capacity pathway may serve to direct intracellular iron to sites which would be critically injured by iron excess.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-18
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1990


  • iron
  • reticulocyte
  • rotenone
  • transferrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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