Interaction between iron-regulatory proteins and their RNA target sequences, iron-responsive elements

In this chapter, we have focused on the biochemistry of IRP-1 and the features which distinguish it from the related RNA-binding protein, IRP-2. IRP-1 is the cytoplasmic isoform of the enzyme aconitase, and, depending on iron status, may switch between enzymatic and RNA-binding activities. IRP-1 and IRP-2 are trans-acting regulators of mRNAs involved in iron uptake, storage and utilisation. The finding of an IRE in the citric acid cycle enzymes, mitochondrial aconitase and succinate dehydrogenase, suggests that the IRPs may also influence cellular energy production. These two proteins appear to bind RNAs with different but overlapping specificity, suggesting that they may regulate the stability or translation of as yet undefined mRNA targets, possibly extending their regulatory function beyond that of iron homeostasis. The interaction between the IRPs and the IRE represents one of the best characterised model systems for posttranscriptional gene control, and given that each IRP can also recognise its own unique set of RNAs, the search for new in vivo mRNA targets is expected to provide yet more surprises and insights into the fate of cytoplasmic mRNAs


    Author address: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK (Invited paper)


    • GR-KUHN-REVIEW-2008-010

    Record created on 2008-02-26, modified on 2016-08-08


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