Iron-regulatory proteins (IRP1 and IRP2) are RNA-binding proteins that bind to stem-loop structures known as iron-responsive elements (IREs). IREs are located in the 5′- or 3′-untranslated regions (UTRs) of specific mRNAs that encode proteins involved in iron homeostasis. The binding of IRPs to 5′ IREs represses translation of the mRNA, whereas the binding of IRPs to 3′ IREs stabilizes the mRNA. IRP1 and IRP2 binding activities are regulated by intracellular iron levels. In addition, nitric oxide (NO.) increases the affinity of IRP1 for IREs. The role of NO. in the regulation of IRP1 and IRP2 in rat hepatoma cells was investigated by using the NO.-generating compound S-nitroso-N- acetylpenicillamine (SNAP), or by stimulating cells with multiple cytokines and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce NO. production. Mitochondrial and IRP1 aconitase activities were decreased in cells producing NO(.). NO. increased IRE binding activity of IRP1, but had no effect on IRE binding activity of IRP2. The increase in IRE binding activity of IRP1 was coincident with the translational repression of ferritin synthesis. Transferrin receptor (TfR) mRNA levels were increased in cells treated with NO.-generating compounds, but not in cytokine- and LPS-treated cells. Our data indicate that IRP1 and IRP2 are differentially regulated by NO. in rat hepatoma cells, suggesting a role for IRP1 in the regulation of iron homeostasis in vivo during hepatic inflammation.

This content is only available as a PDF.