Transferrin Receptor Cd71

Balbino Alarcón and Manuel Fresno, Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, CSIC-Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

The first evidence for the existence of the transferrin receptor (TfR) was found in 1963 when Jandl and Katz showed that binding of transferrin to immature red cells was a specific and saturable process. Since then it has been shown that the TfR is present in virtually all dividing cells, which require iron for heme synthesis as well as for the activity of enzymes involved in DNA replication. Independently, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), such as OKT9 and B3/25, raised against activated T lymphocytes, were found to recognize an immunodominant proliferation-associated cell surface antigen in activated hematopoietic cells. This surface antigen was shown to be the TfR because the mAbs were able to coprecipitate transferrin, although they did not react directly with it. Although the TfR was not initially considered as a cluster of differentiation antigen due to its wide cell distribution, it was finally assigned as CD71 at the 4th International Workshop on Leukocyte Typing.

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