Anamorsin (AM, also called CIAPIN-1) is an anti-apoptotic factor, which we originally isolated as a molecule that confers factor-independent survival of hematopoietic cells (J.Exp.Med. 199:581–592, 2004). AM has no structural homology to any known anti-apoptosis molecules such as Bcl-2 and IAP family members. AM-deficient (AM−/−) mice are embryonic lethal at late gestation. Its embryos are anemic and the size of embryos is very small. It is thought that AM plays a crucial role in hematopoiesis, however the precise biological mechanisms of AM remain unclear. Recently, it was reported that the yeast AM homolog, Dre2, was implicated in cytosolic iron-sulfur (Fe/S) cluster assembly (Zhang Y., et al. Mol.Cell.Biol. 28:5569-5582, 2008). The AM carries conserved cysteine motifs (CX2CXC and twin CX2C) at its C termini, which may form iron binding sites. In this study, we have focused on the possibility that AM may be involved in the cellular iron regulation.
At first, in order to analyze molecular and cellular events, we established cell lines from wild-type or AM-deficient embryonic fetal liver (14.5dpc) by using SV40 large T antigen. We isolated 5 wild-type cell lines (AM WTs) and 2 AM-deficient cell lines (AM KOs) respectively. Next, we compared the cell growth and apoptosis in both cell lines and found that the growth rate of AM KOs were slightly lower than that of AM WTs although these cell lines were immortalized. AM KOs showed more significant apoptosis induced by oxidative stress; the percents of Annexin V positive fraction were 12 ± 4 and 36 ± 6 in AM WTs and AM KOs respectively under the condition of 0.1mM H2O2 for 16hr. In addition to oxidative stress, AM KOs were more sensitive to UV irradiation. These differences were cancelled by transduction of AM-expression retrovirus vector in AM KOs.
It was reported that Dre2 functions in cytosolic Fe/S protein biogenesis. We examined whether AM might be involved in the maturation of cytosolic Fe/S proteins. Iron regulatory protein 1 (IRP1) is a well-known cytosolic Fe/S protein with dual functions; in the presence of an [4Fe-4S] cluster it functions as a cytosolic aconitase, while IRP1 binds to mRNA stem-loop structures called iron responsive elements (IREs) and confer the mRNA stability when the [4Fe-4S] cluster is missing. In the iron-deficient cells, IRP1 binds to IREs located at the mRNA of iron transferrin receptor (TfR), ferritin and other iron metabolism transcripts, thereby enhancing iron uptake. In this way, it is thought that IRP1 plays important roles in iron homeostasis. We therefore compared the aconitase activity and IRE binding activities of IRP1 between AM WTs and AM KOs and found that AM deficiency resulted in the decrease of cytosolic aconitase activity (approximately 30% compared to AM WTs). In contrast to cytosolic aconitase activity, the mitochondrial aconitase activity showed little change regardless of AM deficiency. In order to analyze whether AM deficiency might increase IRE binding activity of IRP1, cytoplasmic extracts of AM WTs and AM KOs were compared by RNA precipitation assay. In AM KOs, the expression level of IRP1 decreased approximately one third compared to AM WTs. However, the binding activity of IRP1 to biotin-labeled IRE increased in the extract of AM KOs approximately three-fold in comparison to AM WTs. These differences was cancelled by transduction of AM-expression retrovirus vector to AM KOs. All these findings demonstrated the involvement of AM in the maturation of the cytosolic Fe/S protein, IRP1.
Furthermore, we examined the expression of TfR, which is known to be modulated by IRP1-mediated posttranscriptional regulation. In the presence of iron chelator, desferrioxamine, the expression of TfR in AM WTs was markedly elevated. On the other hand, in AM KOs, the expression of TfR was hardly elevated. Thus, it was showed that AM deficiency impaired the iron homeostasis and conferred low sensitivity for iron concentration due to the decreased function of IRP1.
Our current findings indicate that AM is essential for cytosolic Fe/S cluster biogenesis and iron homeostasis. Now the influence of the AM-mediated iron homeostasis on hematopoiesis is under investigation.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.