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J Biol Chem. 2000 Mar 3;275(9):6220-6.

Effects of interferon-gamma and lipopolysaccharide on macrophage iron metabolism are mediated by nitric oxide-induced degradation of iron regulatory protein 2.

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Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital and Departments of Physiology and Medicine, McGill University, 3755 Cote Ste-Catherine Road, Montreal, Quebec H3T 1E2, Canada.


Iron regulatory proteins (IRP-1 and IRP-2) control the synthesis of transferrin receptors (TfR) and ferritin by binding to iron-responsive elements, which are located in the 3'-untranslated region and the 5'-untranslated region of their respective mRNAs. Cellular iron levels affect binding of IRPs to iron-responsive elements and consequently expression of TfR and ferritin. Moreover, NO(*), a redox species of nitric oxide that interacts primarily with iron, can activate IRP-1 RNA binding activity resulting in an increase in TfR mRNA levels. Recently we found that treatment of RAW 264.7 cells (a murine macrophage cell line) with NO(+) (nitrosonium ion, which causes S-nitrosylation of thiol groups) resulted in a rapid decrease in RNA binding of IRP-2 followed by IRP-2 degradation, and these changes were associated with a decrease in TfR mRNA levels (Kim, S., and Ponka, P. (1999) J. Biol. Chem. 274, 33035-33042). In this study, we demonstrated that stimulation of RAW 264.7 cells with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) increased IRP-1 binding activity, whereas RNA binding of IRP-2 decreased and was followed by a degradation of this protein. Moreover, the decrease of IRP-2 binding/protein levels was associated with a decrease in TfR mRNA levels in LPS/IFN-gamma-treated cells, and these changes were prevented by inhibitors of inducible nitric oxide synthase. Furthermore, LPS/IFN-gamma-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells showed increased rates of ferritin synthesis. These results suggest that NO(+)-mediated degradation of IRP-2 plays a major role in iron metabolism during inflammation.

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