Synergism and substitution in the lactoferrins

A. M. Brodie*, E. W. Ainscough, E. N. Baker, H. M. Baker, M. S. Shongwe, C. A. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The anion binding properties of human lactoferrin (Lf), with Fe3+ or Cu2+ as the associated metal ion, highlight differences between the two sites, and in the anion binding behaviour when different metals are bound. Carbonate, oxalate and hybrid carbonate-oxalate complexes have been prepared and their characteristic electronic and EPR spectra recorded. Oxalate can displace carbonate from either one or both anion sites of Cu2(CO3)2Lf, depending on the oxalate concentration, but no such displacement occurs for Fe2(CO3)2Lf although it does for the bovine analogue. Addition of oxalate and the appropriate metal ion to apoLf under carbonate-free conditions gives dioxalate complexes with both Fe3+ and Cu2+. The anion sites as determined from the crystal structures of Fe2(CO3)2Lf, Fe2(C2O4)2Lf, Cu2(CO3)2Lf, and Cu2(CO3)(C2O4)Lf have been compared. Both the carbonate and oxalate ions bind in bidentate fashion to the metal, except that the carbonate ion in the N-lobe site of dicupric lactoferrin is monodentate. The hybrid copper lactoferrin complex shows that the oxalate ion binds preferentially in the C-lobe site in a bidentate mode. A series of complexes containing the synergistic anion O,N-chelates with increasing substitution on the N atom (glycinate, iminodiacetate and nitrilotriacetate) have been prepared with iron bovine lactoferrin for comparison with the O,O- chelate oxalate. Overall these observations lead to a generalised model for synergistic anion binding by transferrins and allow comparisons to be made with nonsynergistic anions such as citrate and succinate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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