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J Biol Chem. 2009 Jan 9;284(2):711-5. doi: 10.1074/jbc.R800017200. Epub 2008 Aug 29.

Iron homeostasis: recently identified proteins provide insight into novel control mechanisms.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.


Iron is an essential nutrient required for a variety of biochemical processes. It is a vital component of the heme in hemoglobin, myoglobin, and cytochromes and is also an essential cofactor for non-heme enzymes such as ribonucleotide reductase, the limiting enzyme for DNA synthesis. When in excess, iron is toxic because it generates superoxide anions and hydroxyl radicals that react readily with biological molecules, including proteins, lipids, and DNA. As a result, humans possess elegant control mechanisms to maintain iron homeostasis by coordinately regulating iron absorption, iron recycling, and mobilization of stored iron. Disruption of these processes causes either iron-deficient anemia or iron overload disorders. In this minireview, we focus on the roles of recently identified proteins in the regulation of iron homeostasis.

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