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FEBS Lett. 2006 Dec 22;580(30):6865-70. Epub 2006 Nov 29.

Haem carrier protein 1 (HCP1): Expression and functional studies in cultured cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Franklin Wilkins Building, King's College London, 150 Stamford Street, London, SE1 9NH, United Kingdom.


Haem released from digestion and breakdown of meat products provides an important source of dietary iron, which is readily absorbed in the proximal intestine. The recent cloning and characterization of a haem carrier protein 1 (HCP 1) has provided a candidate intestinal haem transporter. The current studies describe the expression and functional analysis of HCP1 in cultured Caco-2 cells, a commonly used model of human intestinal cells. HCP1 mRNA expression in other cell types was also studied. The uptake of (55)Fe labeled haem was determined in cells under different experimental conditions and HCP1 expression was measured by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. mRNA and protein expressions increased in Caco-2 cells transduced with HCP1 adenoviral plasmid, and consequently (55)Fe haem uptake was higher in these cells. Haem uptake was also increased in fully differentiated Caco-2 cells compared to undifferentiated cells. Preincubation of cells with desferrioxamine (DFO, to deplete cells of iron) had no effect on HCP1 expression or haem uptake. Treatment with CdCl(2) (to induce haem oxygenase, HO-1) enhanced HCP1 expression and increased haem uptake into the cells. HCP1 expression and function were found to be adaptive to the rate of haem degradation by HO-1. Furthermore, HCP1 expression in different cells implies a functional role in tissues other than the duodenum.

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