Iron incorporation into ferritin and hemoglobin during differentiation of murine erythroleukemia cells Academic Article uri icon

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  • Hemoglobin and ferritin iron content have been followed during differentiation in tissue cultures of murine erythroleukemia cells (MELC) using the techniques of Mossbauer spectroscopy and electron microscopy. In undifferentiated cells grown without DMSO, only iron stored in ferritin was detected. The amount of iron in a cell grown in the presence of iron citrate is approximately 1.2 X 10(-14) g, whereas in a cell grown in the presence of transferrin the amount is approximately 0.28 X 10(-14) g. These quantities do not depend on the iron concentration in the nutrition medium in a range from 0.3 to 2.0 microgram Fe/ml and are the same for growth times between 8 hr and 7 days. Cells grown with DMSO contain, in addition to ferritin, increasing concentrations of hemoglobin. Chase experiments prove that ferritin iron participates in hemoglobin synthesis. The amount of ferritin iron reaches saturation within less than 8 hr in MELC grown with or without DMSO. In differentiating cells grown with iron citrate there is a decrease with time in ferritin iron content concomitant with the increase in hemoglobin. Cells grown with transferrin incorporate additional amounts of iron, which are approximately equal to the amounts used for hemoglobin synthesis maintaining a constant ferritin iron level. In the electron microscope, iron is seen only as ferritin within lysosomes. The density of the ferritin in lysosomes correlates with the ferritin iron concentrations determined by Mossbauer spectroscopy.


  • Ofer, S
  • Fibach, E
  • Kessel, M
  • Bauminger, ER
  • Cohen, SG
  • Eikelboom, John
  • Rachmilewitz, EA

publication date

  • August 1, 1981

published in