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

Iron regulates the intracellular degradation of iron regulatory protein 2 by the proteasome.

Iron regulatory proteins (IRP1 and IRP2) are RNA-binding proteins that bind to specific structures, termed iron-responsive elements (IREs), that are located in the 5'- or 3'-untranslated regions of mRNAs that encode proteins involved in iron homeostasis. IRP1 and IRP2 RNA binding activities are regulated by iron; IRP1 and IRP2 bind IREs with high affinity in iron-depleted cells and with low affinity in iron-repleted cells. The decrease in IRP1 RNA binding activity occurs by a switch between apoprotein and 4Fe-4S forms, without changes in IRP1 levels, whereas the decrease in IRP2 RNA binding activity reflects a reduction in IRP2 levels. To determine the mechanism by which iron decreases IRP2 levels, we studied IRP2 regulation by iron in rat hepatoma and human HeLa cells. The iron-dependent decrease in IRP2 levels was not due to a decrease in the amount of IRP2 mRNA or to a decrease in the rate of IRP2 synthesis. Pulse-chase experiments demonstrated that iron resulted in a 3-fold increase in the degradation rate of IRP2. IRP2 degradation depends on protein synthesis, but not transcription, suggesting a requirement for a labile protein. IRP2 degradation is not prevented by lysosomal inhibitors or calpain II inhibitors, but is prevented by inhibitors that block proteasome function. These data suggest the involvement of the proteasome in iron-mediated IRP2 proteolysis.[1]


  1. Iron regulates the intracellular degradation of iron regulatory protein 2 by the proteasome. Guo, B., Phillips, J.D., Yu, Y., Leibold, E.A. J. Biol. Chem. (1995) [Pubmed]
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