"The versatility of uses Nature has found for iron originates in the simple aqueous chemistIy of this essential transition metal. Of the diverse chemical reactions of iron in solution the most important is the facile and reversible one-electron oxidation-reduction reaction that takes iron between its two common oxidation states, the fenous and the ferrief( (1). It is for this reason that iron is a key element in many biochemical processes and shortage of iron causes damage to cells and organs. On the othcr hand it is also this feature which makes iron one of the most harmful clements, because it is able to catalyse the formation of highly reactive oxygen and hydrogen radicals when present in the unbound state. These radicals can cause permanent damage to intracellular proteins and DNA. Almost all organisms from micro organisms and plants up to the higher organisms like humans require iron, but at a neutral pH thc solubility product of iron is extremely low (Fe(OH), = 4xlO'''), which makes iron almost insoluble. For this reason proteins have developed to manage the storage and transport of iron bet\\veen cells.

H.G. van Eijk (Henk)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kramer, P. A. (1998, March 18). The transferrin receptor: the iron bridge between the cell and its environment: A diagnostic tool in daily practice?. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/17277