Haemosiderin was isolated from thalassaemic human spleens by centrifugation through concentrated KI solutions. A method for solubilizing haemosiderin was developed which leaves the iron oxyhydroxide cores and constituent polypeptides intact, facilitating further purification and analysis. Purified haemosiderin contained no detectable haem, trace amounts of carbohydrate, and iron and phosphorus in a molar ration of 6:1; much of the phosphate may be present as core-adsorbed. Several lipids were present, but it is not certain whether these are contaminants or components of the haemosiderin granules. In all preparations examined, a characteristic group of six to seven peptides of apparent Mr 12 900-17 800 were found, with a major band at Mr 14 500 and, in addition, a minor component of Mr 42 000; these peptides co-chromatographed with the cores. Negatively stained electron micrographs suggest that these peptides form an incomplete shell about the cores, consistent with the view that haemosiderin is a proteolytic product of ferritin.

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