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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Distribution of transferrin binding protein immunoreactivity in the chicken central and peripheral nervous systems.

Transferrin binding protein (TfBP) is a glycoprotein originally purified from chicken oviduct that exhibits transferrin binding activity. Recent work has shown that TfBP is a post-translationally modified form of the heat shock protein (HSP108), the avian homologue of a glucose regulated protein, GRP94. The function of this protein, however, has not yet been clearly defined. Antiserum to TfBP was found to selectively stain oligodendrocytes of the avian brain. In this study, we further describe these oligodendrocytes and other cell types positive to anti-TfBP in the chick nervous system. In accordance with previous studies, the most prominent cell type that labels with antiserum to TfBP is the oligodendrocyte. At the electron microscopic level, the immunoreactive product is confined to the perinuclear cytoplasm and fine processes of the oligodendrocytes, whereas myelin and axoplasm are devoid of staining. The immunoreactive product is found both in the cytoplasmic matrix and bound to the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane, suggesting that TfBP may have properties of both a soluble and an integral membrane protein. There is great variability in the number of TfBP-oligodendrocytes in different areas of the central nervous system (CNS); large numbers of cells are associated with the white matter regions and are found in the myelinated tracts, whereas few cells are present in the gray matter regions. In the retina, TfBP is localized specifically in the cells, that are morphologically oligodendrocytic and is present in the optic nerve fiber layer and the ganglion cell layer. Obvious staining is also seen in the Bergmann glial cells of the cerebellum and in the Schwann cells of the sciatic nerve. Furthermore, the choroid plexus cells similarly exhibit a strong reaction. The association of TfBP in these specific cell types responsible for myelination and sequestering iron and transferrin implies that TfBP may be involved in myelination and iron metabolism of the chick nervous system, perhaps through a role in transferrin concentration in these cells. A putative role of TfBP, as HSP108, is considered.[1]


  1. Distribution of transferrin binding protein immunoreactivity in the chicken central and peripheral nervous systems. Cho, S.S., Lucas, J.J., Roh, E.J., Yoo, Y.B., Lee, K.H., Park, K.H., Hwang, D.H., Baik, S.H. J. Comp. Neurol. (1997) [Pubmed]
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