Purification and Characterization of Liver Ferritins from Different Animal Species

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The ferritins were purified from liver homogenates of buffalo, camel, cattle, sheep and shark by thermal denaturation, ammonium sulphate fractionation, Sephacryl S-300 gel filtration and DEAE-blue gel affinity chromatography. The yield and iron content of affinity-purified liver ferritins ranged from 0.008 to 0.052 mg/g and 3.17% to 11.4% respectively. As they are glycoproteins, the ferritins contained variable amounts of neutral carbohydrates. Except for shark ferritin, the ferritins all exhibited immunological cross-reactivity with anti-buffalo liver ferritin and anti-horse spleen ferritin by immunodiffusion and immunoelectrophoresis. Gel electrophoresis, gel filtration and ultracentrifugal analysis indicated the presence of a monomeric ferritin in all cases. SDS-gel electrophoresis of shark ferritin gave a protein band of 18 kDa. Ovine, buffalo and bovine ferritin comprised two protein subunits, the H (20 and 21 kDa) and the L types (18 and 19 kDa). Oligomeric ferritin subunits with molecular weights of 27, 37 and 55 kDa were also found for bovine and buffalo ferritin. SDS-PAGE of camel ferritin revealed a complex pattern with four prominent bands of 61, 51, 44 and 39 kDa. Two fast-migrating components of 15 and 16 kDa were also found in the purified liver ferritins, including reference preparations. The PO3−4/Fe ratios of purified shark (0.10) and bovine ferritin (0.12) were similar to that of standard equine spleen ferritin (0.11). However, the ratio was higher in ovine (0.17), camel (0.22) and bovine (0.26) ferritins. The amino acid compositions, molecular weights and sedimentation coefficients of the different liver ferritins were similar.

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