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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Multiple, conserved iron-responsive elements in the 3'-untranslated region of transferrin receptor mRNA enhance binding of iron regulatory protein 2.

Synthesis of proteins for iron homeostasis is regulated by specific, combinatorial mRNA/protein interactions between RNA stem-loop structures (iron-responsive elements, IREs) and iron-regulatory proteins (IRP1 and IRP2), controlling either mRNA translation or stability. The transferrin receptor 3'-untranslated region (TfR-3'-UTR) mRNA is unique in having five IREs, linked by AU-rich elements. A C-bulge in the stem of each TfR-IRE folds into an IRE that has low IRP2 binding, whereas a loop/bulge in the stem of the ferritin-IRE allows equivalent IRP1 and IRP2 binding. Effects of multiple IRE interactions with IRP1 and IRP2 were compared between the native TfR-3'-UTR sequence (5xIRE) and RNA with only 3 or 2 IREs. We show 1) equivalent IRP1 and IRP2 binding to multiple TfR-IRE RNAs; 2) increased IRP-dependent nuclease resistance of 5xIRE compared with lower IRE copy-number RNAs; 3) distorted TfR-IRE helix structure within the context of 5xIRE, detected by Cu-(phen)(2) binding/cleavage, that coincides with ferritin-IRE conformation and enhanced IRP2 binding; and 4) variable IRP1 and IRP2 expression in human cells and during development (IRP2-mRNA predominated). Changes in TfR-IRE structure conferred by the full length TfR-3'-UTR mRNA explain in part evolutionary conservation of multiple IRE-RNA, which allows TfR mRNA stabilization and receptor synthesis when IRP activity varies, and ensures iron uptake for cell growth.[1]


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