Unusual Synergism of Transferrin and Citrate in the Regulation of Ti(IV) Speciation, Transport, and Toxicity.


Journal Article

Human serum transferrin (sTf) is a protein that mediates the transport of iron from blood to cells. Assisted by the synergistic anion carbonate, sTf transports Fe(III) by binding the metal ion in a closed conformation. Previous studies suggest sTf's role as a potential transporter of other metals such as titanium. Ti is a widely used metal in colorants, foods, and implants. A substantial amount of Ti is leached into blood from these implants. However, the fate of the leached Ti and its transport into the cells is not known. Understanding Ti interaction with sTf assumes a greater significance with our ever increasing exposure to Ti in the form of implants. On the basis of in vitro studies, it was speculated that transferrin can bind Ti(IV) assisted by a synergistic anion. However, the role and identity of the synergistic anion(s) and the conformational state in which sTf binds Ti(IV) are not known. Here we have solved the first X-ray crystal structure of a Ti(IV)-bound sTf. We find that sTf binds Ti(IV) in an open conformation with both carbonate and citrate as synergistic anions at the metal binding sites, an unprecedented role for citrate. Studies with cell lines suggest that Ti(IV)-sTf is transported into cells and that sTf and citrate regulate the metal's blood speciation and attenuate its cytotoxic property. Our results provide the first glimpse into the citrate-transferrin synergism in the regulation of Ti(IV) bioactivity and offers insight into the future design of Ti(IV)-based anticancer drugs.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Tinoco, AD; Saxena, M; Sharma, S; Noinaj, N; Delgado, Y; Quiñones González, EP; Conklin, SE; Zambrana, N; Loza-Rosas, SA; Parks, TB

Published Date

  • May 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 138 / 17

Start / End Page

  • 5659 - 5665

PubMed ID

  • 27070073

Pubmed Central ID

  • 27070073

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1520-5126

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-7863

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1021/jacs.6b01966


  • eng