During dimethyl sulphoxide-induced differentiation of DS-19 murine erythroleukaemia (MEL) cells, the activity of the terminal enzyme of the haem-biosynthetic pathway, ferrochelatase (protohaem ferrolyase, EC 18.104.22.168), is thought to be the rate-limiting step for haem production. Differentiation of induced MEL cells in the presence of exogeneously supplied protoporphyrin IX showed that total haem production was affected by added porphyrin only after 48 h. These data suggest that iron insertion, the terminal step, is rate-limiting during the first 48 h of differentiation. Addition of low levels of diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydro-2,4,6-trimethylpyridine to differentiating cultures resulted in decreased haem production and decreased ferrochelatase activity. N-Methylprotoporphyrin at nanomolar concentrations also strongly inhibited ferrochelatase activity, but had no inhibitory effect on cellular haem production. The bivalent cations Co2+, Cd2+ and Mn2+ were tested for their effect on haem production and ferrochelatase activity. All three metals were found to inhibit both haem formation and ferrochelatase activity, with Mn2+ being the strongest effector. These data, together with those previously published, suggest that the terminal step in haem biosynthesis is rate-limiting during the early stages of differentiation in MEL cells.
- © 1987 London: The Biochemical Society