February 14, 2023
Maureen Gorman will present Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Seminar on Feb. 15
Maureen Gorman, research professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Kansas State University, will be the featured speaker for this week's Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Seminar. She will present "Iron transport in insects with a focus on transferrin-1" at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in 120 Ackert Hall.
Presentation abstract: A regulated iron transport system is essential for all animals; however, surprisingly little is known about iron transport in any animals except mammals. Our recent research has focused on understanding iron transport in insects, with a major emphasis on the cellular uptake of iron from hemolymph. In mammals, serum transferrin mediates most iron uptake from blood and other extracellular fluids. Transferrin-1, an insect homolog of serum transferrin, was thought to play a similar role in insects. We demonstrated that although transferrin-1 and serum transferrin have some similar biochemical properties, they evolved different iron coordination mechanisms. In addition, whereas a severe deficiency of serum transferrin is lethal, presumably due to the extreme disruption in iron distribution in the body, transferrin-1 null mutants are viable and fertile, with no obvious disturbance in iron distribution. We are currently testing non-transferrin-based models of iron uptake in insects. Our preliminary data suggest that cultured insect cells (cell line Sg4) do not require endocytosis for iron uptake but may instead take up iron through an unknown ferrous transporter. The long-term outcomes of this work include a better understanding of the evolution of iron transport mechanisms in metazoans and, possibly, insight into the less understood mechanisms of iron uptake in humans.