Author(s): Johnstone RM
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Abstract The transferrin receptor is a member of a group of reticulocyte surface proteins that disappear from the membranes of reticulocytes as the cells mature to the erythrocyte stage. The selective loss of membrane proteins appears to be preceded by the formation of multivesicular bodies (MVBs). At the reticulocyte stage, many species of mammalian red cells including man, and one nucleated avian species (chicken), contain these intracellular structures in both natural and induced anemias. Also characteristic of blood containing reticulocytes is the presence of circulating vesicles (exosomes), which contain proteins and lipids characteristic of the plasma membrane. These exosomes appear to arise from the contents of the MVBs, after the fusion of MVBs with the plasma membrane. The proteins in the exosomes are those frequently lost during red cell maturation (e.g., transferrin receptor). The major transmembrane proteins (such as the anion transporter) are fully retained into the mature red cell, indicating a highly selective mechanism of recognition of a specific group of proteins. The exosomes are largely devoid of soluble proteins and proteins associated with lysozomes or mitochondria. A speculative model is proposed which addresses the questions of the maturation-induced structural changes in a class of membrane proteins, their recognition and selective loss involving exosome formation, and the release of exosomes to the circulation.
This article was published in Biochem Cell Biol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology