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Abstract

The essential metal iron presents two major problems for life: it is potentially highly toxic due to its redox activity, and its extremely low solubility in aqueous solution in the presence of O2 can make it hard to acquire and store safely. Ferritins are part of nature’s answer to these problems, as they store iron in a safe but accessible form in all types of cells. How they achieve this has been the subject of intense research for several decades. Here, we highlight recent progress in elucidating the routes by which Fe2+ ions access the catalytic ferroxidase centers, and the mechanisms by which Fe2+ is oxidized. Emerging from this is a picture of diversity, both in terms of Fe2+ entry pathways and the roles played by the structurally distinct diiron ferroxidase centers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122–128
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
Volume37
Early online date15 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

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