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Murine erythroleukaemic cells were studied to determine whether different isoferritins have different functions. The cells were labelled with radioactive iron and the pattern of isoferritins was analysed by chromatofocussing. No change was found after iron-loading the cells but after inducing erythroid differentiation with dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO), iron was incorporated into both more basic and more acidic isoferritins. This was compared to ferritin subunit synthesis; DMSO induced the synthesis of a third, minor subunit whereas iron-loading had no effect. The fate of murine erythroleukaemic cell ferritin iron was followed after incubations in iron-deficient medium containing DMSO; some, but not all, of the ferritin iron was mobilized and used for haem synthesis, and the remaining iron was found amongst the more basic isoferritins. Finally, sequential radioactive iron labels were used to demonstrate that the movement of iron from ferritin to haem was compatible with the 'last-in-first-out' principle, but this could not be related to different isoferritins. These results show firstly that DMSO changes the pattern of isoferritins and ferritin subunits in murine erythroleukaemic cells. Secondly, iron associated with more basic isoferritins seems to be less easily mobilized for haem synthesis. These results support the concept that different isoferritins have different functions.


Journal article


Biochim Biophys Acta

Publication Date





79 - 86


Animals, Cell Fractionation, Clone Cells, Dimethyl Sulfoxide, Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel, Ferritins, Iron Radioisotopes, Isoelectric Focusing, Leukemia, Erythroblastic, Acute, Mice