Insect iron binding proteins: insights from the genomes

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2006 Apr;36(4):300-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2006.01.007. Epub 2006 Jan 19.


Sequencing of the genomes of Drosophila melanogaster, Anopheles gambiae, Apis mellifera, and Bombyx mori provided an opportunity to examine the diversity and organization of genes encoding insect transferrins (Tsf) and ferritins. Information obtained from the genomes significantly advances our knowledge of these major players in insect iron metabolism and complements the results of molecular studies on their temporal, spatial, and inducible expression pattern and regulatory mechanisms conducted in diverse insect species. Analysis of genes encoding new members of the Tsf family and non-secreted ferritin subunits allows making preliminary hypotheses about their possible functions and opens possibilities to study lesser-known aspects of insect iron homeostasis. Proteomic and gene expression studies that followed the whole genome sequencing quickly contribute to defining or better understanding of the important and diverse biological roles of Tsf and ferritin, particularly their involvement in insect's defenses against oxidative stress and infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Ferritins / chemistry
  • Ferritins / genetics*
  • Ferritins / physiology
  • Genome, Insect*
  • Insecta / genetics*
  • Insecta / metabolism
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transferrin / chemistry
  • Transferrin / genetics*
  • Transferrin / physiology


  • Transferrin
  • Ferritins
  • Iron