Iron-binding proteins are carrier proteins and metalloproteins which play many important roles in various organic processes, including metabolism, the immune response, and delivery pathways for small molecules such as oxygen (when bound to iron in heme). Iron is required by humans and bacteria for enzymes and metabolic pathways to function properly. Iron-binding proteins bind iron tightly, making it unavailable for microbial use, limiting the growth of foreign microbes. Four iron-binding proteins are Hemoglobin, Ferritin, lactoferrin and transferrin;
- Hemoglobin is located in red blood cells.
- Transferrin is found in blood and tissue fluids.
- Lactoferrin is found in milk, blood, tears and saliva.
- Ferritin is found in every cell type.
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