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A missense mutation in TFRC, encoding transferrin receptor 1, causes combined immunodeficiency

Jabara, H.H., Boyden, S.E., Chou, J. et al.

Patients with a combined immunodeficiency characterized by normal numbers, but impaired function, of T and B cells had a homozygous p.Tyr20His mutation in transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1), encoded by TFRC. The mutation disrupts the TfR1 internalization motif, resulting in defective receptor endocytosis and markedly increased TfR1 surface expression. Iron citrate rescued the lymphocyte defects and transduction of wild type, but not mutant, TfR1 rescued impaired transferrin uptake in patient fibroblasts. TfrcY20H/Y20H mice recapitulated the patients’ immunologic defects. Despite the critical role of TfR1 in erythrocyte development and function, the patients had only mild anemia and only slightly increased TfR1 expression in erythroid precursors. We show that STEAP3, a metalloreductase expressed in erythroblasts, associates with TfR1 and partially rescues transferrin uptake in patient fibroblasts, suggesting that STEAP3 may provide an accessory TfR1 endocytosis signal that spares the patients from severe anemia. These findings demonstrate the importance of TfR1 in adaptive immunity.

Citation

Jabara, H.H., Boyden, S.E., Chou, J. et al. "A missense mutation in TFRC, encoding transferrin receptor 1, causes combined immunodeficiency" Nature Genetics (2016): 74–8