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Storage and Translation of Ferritin Messenger RNA

  • Elizabeth C. Theil

Abstract

Early in evolution, most life forms became dependent on iron proteins for such reactions as electron transfer, nitrogen reduction, and DNA synthesis (ribonucleotide reductase) because of the abundance and the redox properties of iron. When the use of H2O as a source of hydrogen for photosynthesis began 2.5 billion years ago, a profound change in the environment was wrought: dioxygen was released as a by-product. For the first approximately 200–300 million years thereafter, the oxygen content of the atmosphere changed little because oxygen was consumed in the conversion of ferrous to ferric.1 However, cellular metabolism changed dramatically. Iron was still abundant, but instead of the soluble ferrous iron, the cells had to accommodate to insoluble ferric with a solubility of 10−18 M.2 Ferritin maintains a soluble reservoir of ferric iron that in cells specialized for iron storage, can be equivalent to 10−5 M.3 While it is not known whether ferritin existed before oxygen-evolving photosynthesis, the need for ferritin increased dramatically at that time.

Keywords

Iron Metabolism Iron Storage Iron Core Ferric Ammonium Citrate Housekeeping Protein 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth C. Theil
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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