Survey of Immunologic Research

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 129–136 | Cite as

Transferrin receptors on lymphocytes: Structure, expression, evolution and function

  • James W. Goding
Guest editorial reviews


The transferrin receptor is a major cell surface protein on dividing cells. Murine plasmacytomas may possess up to 4 x 105 transferrin-binding sites per cell [46]. While the transferrin receptor is clearly not confined to lymphocytes, it has recently become of considerable interest to immunologists. It has appeared in numerous disguises, such as a ‘tumor antigen’ or ‘differentiation antigen’. The transferrin receptor is one of the few cell surface markers on lymphocytes that has a known function, and its expression seems to be essential for cell growth. It therefore represents a beautiful model system. The transferrin receptor may represent a useful route for attack of tumors. Finally, a word of warning. Transferrin is a frequent contaminant of immunoglobulin preparations. Some batches of fluorescent antibodies could contain fluorescent transferrin or fluorescent antibodies to transferrin, resulting in artifactual staining of cells with large numbers of transferrin receptors [22, 44].


Transferrin Transferrin Receptor Coated Vesicle Royal Melbourne Hospital Human Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia 
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Copyright information

© S. Karger AG, Basel 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. Goding
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical ResearchRoyal Melbourne HospitalParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical ResearchPO Royal Melbourne HospitalParkvilleAustralia

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