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FEBS Lett. 2003 May 8;542(1-3):22-6.

Comparative analysis of mouse hepcidin 1 and 2 genes: evidence for different patterns of expression and co-inducibility during iron overload.

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INSERM U522, Hôpital Pontchaillou, 35033 Rennes, France.


In contrast to the human genome, the mouse genome contains two HEPC genes encoding hepcidin, a key regulator of iron homeostasis. Here we report a comparative analysis of sequence, genomic structure, expression and iron regulation of mouse HEPC genes. The predicted processed 25 amino acid hepcidin 2 peptide share 68% identity with hepcidin 1 with perfect conservation of eight cysteine residues. Both HEPC1 and HEPC2 genes have similar genomic organization and have probably arisen from a recent duplication of chromosome 7 region, including the HEPC ancestral gene and a part of the adjacent USF2 gene. Insertion of a retroviral intracisternal A-particle element was found upstream of the HEPC1 gene. Both genes are highly expressed in the liver and to a much lesser extent in the heart. In contrast to HEPC1, a high amount of HEPC2 transcripts was detected in the pancreas. Expression of both genes was increased in the liver during carbonyl-iron and iron-dextran overload. Overall our data suggest that both HEPC1 and HEPC2 genes are involved in iron metabolism regulation but could exhibit different activities and/or play distinct roles.

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