Repressor-Mediated Translational Control

The Regulation of Ferritin Synthesis by Iron
  • William E. Walden


Initiation of translation is regulated through a variety of mechanisms. Among these are regulation of initiation factor and ribosome activity, and competition for limiting components of the translational machinery. Examples illustrating each are described elsewhere in this volume. The regulation of ferritin synthesis is the clearest example of translational regulation by a sequence-specific messenger RNA (mRNA) binding protein; a translational repressor. Ferritin is the major iron-storage protein in eukaryotes.1–6 As part of its role in intracellular iron storage, ferritin serves to maintain iron in a soluble, nontoxic form, thus preventing the potentially damaging effects of free iron. Ferritin is a large protein composed of 24 identical, or nearly identical, subunits which are arranged in the form of a shell (apoferritin) into which as many as 4000 iron atoms can be stored. Two distinct subunits have been identified in mammals, heavy (H) and light (L). A third, middle (M), subunit has been identified in amphibians.7,8 Apoferritin can be composed of any combination of these subunits, with the composition ultimately being determined by the tissue-specific expression pattern of the subunits.1,2,4


Iron Status Translational Repression Translational Regulation Wheat Germ Extract Ferritin Synthesis 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • William E. Walden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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