Intracellular kinetics of iron in reticulocytes: Evidence for endosome involvement in iron targeting to mitochondria

An Sheng Zhang, Alex D. Sheftel, Prem Ponka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


In erythroid cells the vast majority of iron (Fe) released from endosomes must cross both the outer and the inner mitochondrial membranes to reach ferrochelatase that inserts Fe into protoporphyrin IX. In the present study, we developed a method whereby a cohort of 59Fe-transferrin (Tf)-laden endosomal vesicles were generated, from which we could evaluate the transfer of 59Fe into mitochondria. Iron chelators, dipyridyl or salicylaldehyde isonicotinoyl hydrazone (SIH), were able to bind the 59Fe when they were present during a 37°C incubation; however, addition of these agents only during lysis at 4°C chelated virtually no 59Fe. Bafilomycin A1 (which prevents endosome acidification) and succinylacetone (an inhibitor of 5-aminolevulinate dehydratase) prevented endosomal 59Fe incorporation into heme. Importantly, both the myosin light chain kinase inhibitor wortmannin and the calmodulin antagonist, N-(6-aminohexyl)-5-chloro-1-naphthalene- sulfonamide (W-7), caused significant inhibition of 59Fe incorporation from 59Fe-Tf-labeled endosomes into heme, suggesting that myosin is required for Tf-vesicle movement. Our results reaffirm the astonishing efficiency of Tf-derived Fe utilization in hemoglobin (Hb)-producing cells and demonstrate that very little of this Fe is present in a chelatable pool. Collectively, these results are congruent with our hypothesis that a transient endosome-mitochondrion interaction mediates iron transfer between these organelles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-375
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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