Ferritin associates with marginal band microtubules

Anthony A. Infante, Dzintra Infante, Muh Chun Chan, Poh Choo How, Waltraud Kutschera, Irena Linhartová, Ernst W. Müllner, Gerhard Wiche, Friedrich Propst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We characterized chicken erythrocyte and human platelet ferritin by biochemical studies and immunofluorescence. Erythrocyte ferritin was found to be a homopolymer of H-ferritin subunits, resistant to proteinase K digestion, heat stable, and contained iron. In mature chicken erythrocytes and human platelets, ferritin was localized at the marginal band, a ring-shaped peripheral microtubule bundle, and displayed properties of bona fide microtubule-associated proteins such as tau. Red blood cell ferritin association with the marginal band was confirmed by temperature-induced disassembly-reassembly of microtubules. During erythrocyte differentiation, ferritin co-localized with coalescing microtubules during marginal band formation. In addition, ferritin was found in the nuclei of mature erythrocytes, but was not detectable in those of bone marrow erythrocyte precursors. These results suggest that ferritin has a function in marginal band formation and possibly in protection of the marginal band from damaging effects of reactive oxygen species by sequestering iron in the mature erythrocyte. Moreover, our data suggest that ferritin and syncolin, a previously identified erythrocyte microtubule-associated protein, are identical. Nuclear ferritin might contribute to transcriptional silencing or, alternatively, constitute a ferritin reservoir.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1602-1614
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Erythrocyte
  • Ferritin
  • Iron
  • Marginal band
  • Microtubule
  • Oxidative stress
  • Platelet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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