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J Biol Chem. 2013 Jan 4;288(1):552-60. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.426171. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

F-box and leucine-rich repeat protein 5 (FBXL5) is required for maintenance of cellular and systemic iron homeostasis.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9038, USA.


Maintenance of cellular iron homeostasis requires post-transcriptional regulation of iron metabolism genes by iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2). The hemerythrin-like domain of F-box and leucine-rich repeat protein 5 (FBXL5), an E3 ubiquitin ligase subunit, senses iron and oxygen availability and facilitates IRP2 degradation in iron replete cells. Disruption of the ubiquitously expressed murine Fbxl5 gene results in a failure to sense increased cellular iron availability, accompanied by constitutive IRP2 accumulation and misexpression of IRP2 target genes. FBXL5-null mice die during embryogenesis, although viability is restored by simultaneous deletion of the IRP2, but not IRP1, gene. Mice containing a single functional Fbxl5 allele behave like their wild type littermates when fed an iron-sufficient diet. However, unlike wild type mice that manifest decreased hematocrit and hemoglobin levels when fed a low-iron diet, Fbxl5 heterozygotes maintain normal hematologic values due to increased iron absorption. The responsiveness of IRP2 to low iron is specifically enhanced in the duodena of the heterozygotes and is accompanied by increased expression of the divalent metal transporter-1. These results confirm the role of FBXL5 in the in vivo maintenance of cellular and systemic iron homeostasis and reveal a privileged role for the intestine in their regulation by virtue of its unique FBXL5 iron sensitivity.

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