Transferrin is a secreted glycoprotein that transports ferric iron (Fe3+) from extracellular fluids to tissues. It was first documented as “iron-binding component” of human blood plasma back in 1946. The “iron-binding component” was subsequently purified, biochemically characterized, and named transferrin. A similar protein from egg white (ovotransferrin) was previously reported to inhibit bacterial and yeast growth via its iron-binding capacity. A historical account of the early discovery and characterization of transferrin can be found in an excellent review article (Morgan 1981). Functional studies demonstrated that plasma transferrin delivers iron to developing erythroid cells upon binding to cell surface transferrin receptors. The mechanism involves internalization of iron-loaded transferrin within the recipient cell, release of iron following...
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