GSBS Student Publications


The small-molecule iron transport inhibitor ferristatin/NSC306711 promotes degradation of the transferrin receptor

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Biological Transport; Biphenyl Compounds; Cholesterol; Clathrin; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Dynamins; *Gene Expression Regulation; Hela Cells; Humans; Iron; Membrane Microdomains; Microscopy, Fluorescence; Models, Chemical; Protein Binding; Receptors, Transferrin; Sulfones


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Iron delivery by transferrin (Tf) is accomplished through clathrin-mediated endocytosis of Tf receptors. The small molecule NSC306711 inhibits iron uptake from the Tf-TfR pathway. Here we show that the drug's mechanism of action is to induce internalization and degradation of unoccupied Tf receptors through an unexpected endocytic pathway. Unlike classical clathrin-mediated Tf receptor endocytosis, internalization promoted by NSC306711 is independent of clathrin and dynamin, and is sensitive to the cholesterol-depleting agents filipin and nystatin. The finding of this cholesterol-dependent Tf receptor internalization pathway through use of the small-molecule inhibitor sheds light on the pleiotropic nature of membrane trafficking dynamics and adds a complex dimension to our understanding of receptor regulation. Because of its unusual properties to inhibit iron uptake, we refer to NSC306711 as "ferristatin."

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Citation: Chem Biol. 2008 Jul 21;15(7):647-53. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version


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Link to Article in PubMed

Journal Title

Chemistry and biology

PubMed ID