Regulation of genes of iron metabolism by the iron-response proteins

David J. Haile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Iron is an essential nutrient, yet excess iron can be toxic to cells. The uptake of iron by mammalian cells is post-transcriptionally regulated by the interaction of iron-response proteins (IRP1 and IRP2) with iron-response elements (IREs) found in the mRNAs of genes of iron metabolism, such as ferritin, the transferrin receptor, erythroid aminolevulinic acid synthase, and mitochondrial aconitase. The IRPs are RNA binding proteins that bind to the IRE (found in the mRNAs of the regulated genes) in an iron-dependent manner. Binding of IRPs to the IREs leads to changes in the expression of the regulated genes and subsequent changes in the uptake, utilization, or storage of intracellular iron. Recent work has demonstrated that the binding of the IRPs to the IREs can also be modulated by changes in the redox state or oxidative stress level of the cell. These findings provide an important link between iron metabolism and states of oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-240
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1999


  • Iron
  • Iron metabolism
  • Iron-response elements
  • Iron-response proteins
  • Oxidative stress
  • Post-transcriptional gene regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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