The influence of purified recombinant human heavy-subunit and light-subunit ferritins on colony formation in vitro by granulocyte-macrophage and erythroid progenitor cells

H. E. Broxmeyer, L. Lu, D. C. Bicknell, D. E. Williams, S. Cooper, S. Levi, J. Salfeld, P. Arosio

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54 Scopus citations


Purified recombinant human heavy subunit (rHF, acidic) and recombinant human light subunit (rLF, basic) ferritins were assessed for their effects in vitro on colony formation by normal human granulocyte-macrophage (CFU-GM) and erythroid (BFU-E) progenitor cells. The purity of the samples was confirmed by electrophoresis in both nondenaturing and denaturing conditions and silver staining. Concentrations of 10-8 to 10-10 mol/L rHF caused an ~40% significant decrease in colony formation. Some significant activity was detected at 10-11 mol/L, and activity was lost at 10-12 mol/L. In contrast, rLF had no significant activity at 10-8 to 10-16 mol/L. rHF was significantly active against mouse bone marrow CFU-GM to concentrations as low as 10-8 to 10-9 mol/L. The inhibitory activity of rHF was inactivated with three different monoclonal antibodies recognizing the heavy subunit of ferritin, but not with two monoclonal antibodies recognizing the light subunit of ferritin. The inhibitory activity of rHF was similar in the absence or presence of serum, monocytes, and T lymphocytes. We and others have shown an association of a glycosylated natural acidic isoferritin (AIF) with inhibitory activity, but since the rHF was expressed in Escherichia coli and did not bind to concanavalin A, glycosylation of AIF is not an absolute prerequisite for this activity. These results demonstrate that rHF has suppressive activity in vitro and substantiate our original observations using purified natural acidic isoferritins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1257-1263
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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