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Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2002 Nov-Dec;29(3):315-26.

Role of the ferroportin iron-responsive element in iron and nitric oxide dependent gene regulation.

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UniversitY of Texas Health Science Center, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.


The newly described iron transporter, ferroportin (MTP1, IREG1), is expressed in a variety of tissues including the duodenum and cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS). In the MPS, ferroportin is hypothesized to be a major exporter of iron scavenged from senescent erythrocytes. Changes in iron metabolism, including the sequestration of iron in the MPS, are characteristic of both acute and chronic inflammation and these conditions induce changes in ferroportin expression. In a mouse model of acute inflammation, LPS administration is associated with reduced MPS ferroportin protein and mRNA expression. In addition, the ferroportin 5' UTR also has an iron-responsive element that binds to the iron-response proteins, but whether there is a role for this IRE in inflammation induced regulation of ferroportin has been unclear. A luciferase reporter gene under the control of the mouse ferroportin promoter and 5' UTR was used to determine if this 5' UTR conferred IRE-dependent regulation on this reporter gene. Stimulation of reporter gene transfected RAW 264.7 cells (a mouse macrophage cell line) with LPS resulted in IRE-dependent inhibition of luciferase production. Inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase abrogated the IRE-dependent effect of LPS. In addition, direct treatment of RAW 264.7 and with NO donor S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine resulted in IRE-dependent down-regulation of luciferase expression. The effect of NO was consistent with IRP1/IRE mediated translation block. There are most likely both inflammation-mediated transcriptional and post-transcriptional (IRE-dependent) mechanisms for inhibiting ferroportin expression in MPS cells.

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