Characterization of a second RNA-binding protein in rodents with specificity for iron-responsive elements

Iron regulatory factor (IRF) is a cytoplasmic RNA-binding protein involved in regulating iron homeostasis. IRF controls expression of ferritin and transferrin receptor post-transcriptionally via specific binding to stem-loop iron-responsive elements (IREs) located in the untranslated regions of the respective mRNAs. We have confirmed by RNA band-shift analysis that a second IRE-protein complex observed in different rodent cell extracts is, like IRF, regulated by intracellular iron levels. This faster migrating complex appears to represent a specific interaction between the ferritin IRE and an iron-regulated protein that is distinct from IRF, as concluded from the following lines of evidence. First, UV cross-linking and partial digestion with different proteases revealed different peptide patterns for the two IRE-protein complexes. Second, antiserum raised against IRF peptides immunoprecipitated only authentic IRF and not the protein of the faster migrating complex, as determined by band-shift analysis. Following separation of the two IRE-binding proteins by ion-exchange chromatography, only the IRF-containing fraction reacted with the antibodies on Western blots. The second protein binds IREs with an affinity similar to that of IRF as demonstrated by competition with a ferritin IRE and related stem-loop RNAs. UV cross-linking experiments indicate that this second protein, tentatively named IRFB, has a molecular mass of approximately 105 kDa. Analysis of mouse tissues revealed differences in the distribution of IRF and IRFB. Whereas IRF protein and IRE binding activity were predominant in liver, intestine, and kidney, the IRFB protein(s) revealed highest binding activity in intestine and brain. Our data support the existence of two distinct iron-regulated IRE-binding proteins in rodents.

Published in:
J Biol Chem, 268, 36, 27327-34
Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, Epalinges s/Lausanne.

 Record created 2008-02-25, last modified 2018-03-17

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