Transferrin receptor mRNA interactions contributing to iron homeostasis

Dhwani N. Rupani, Gregory J. Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The transferrin receptor is the primary means of iron importation for most mammalian cells and understanding its regulatory mechanisms is relevant to hematologic, oncologic, and other disorders in which iron homeostasis is perturbed. The 3′ UTR of the transferrin receptor mRNA contains an instability element that is protected from degradation during iron depletion through interactions of iron regulatory proteins (IRPs) with five iron-responsive elements (IREs). The structural features required for degradation and the site of IRP binding required for in situ protection remain unclear. An RNA-CLIP strategy is described here that identifies the predominant site of IRP-1 interaction within a nontransformed primary cell line. This approach avoided complications associated with the use of elevated concentrations of protein and/or mRNA and detected interactions within the native environment of the mRNA. A compensatory mutagenesis strategy indicates that the instability element at minimum consists of three non-IRE stem-loops that can function additively, suggesting that they are not forming one highly interdependent structure. Although the IREs are not essential for instability, they enhance instability when IRP interactions are inhibited. These results are supportive of a mechanism for a graded response to the intracellular iron resulting from a progressive loss of IRP protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1271-1282
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Rupani and Connell.


  • Endonuclease
  • Iron homeostasis
  • Iron regulatory proteins
  • Iron-responsive elements
  • Transferrin receptor


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