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J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 3;287(6):4099-106. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.310789. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

BMPER protein is a negative regulator of hepcidin and is up-regulated in hypotransferrinemic mice.

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Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division, School of Medicine, Kings College London, London WC2R 2LS, United Kingdom.


The BMP/SMAD4 pathway has major effects on liver hepcidin levels. Bone morphogenetic protein-binding endothelial cell precursor-derived regulator (Bmper), a known regulator of BMP signaling, was found to be overexpressed at the mRNA and protein levels in liver of genetically hypotransferrinemic mice (Trf(hpx/hpx)). Soluble BMPER peptide inhibited BMP2- and BMP6-dependent hepcidin promoter activity in both HepG2 and HuH7 cells. These effects correlated with reduced cellular levels of pSMAD1/5/8. Addition of BMPER peptide to primary human hepatocytes abolished the BMP2-dependent increase in hepcidin mRNA, whereas injection of Bmper peptide into mice resulted in reduced liver hepcidin and increased serum iron levels. Thus Bmper may play an important role in suppressing hepcidin production in hypotransferrinemic mice.

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