In humans, systemic heme homeostasis is achieved via coordinated regulation of heme synthesis, transport and degradation. Although the heme biosynthesis and degradation pathways have been well characterized, the pathways for heme trafficking and incorporation into hemoproteins remain poorly understood. In the past few years, researchers have exploited genetic, cellular and biochemical tools, to identify heme transporters and, in the process, reveal unexpected functions for this elusive group of proteins. However, given the complexity of heme trafficking pathways, current knowledge of heme transporters is fragmented and sometimes contradictory. This review seeks to focus on recent studies on heme transporters with specific emphasis on their functions during erythropoiesis.
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