Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 22, pp 2945–2955

The family of iron responsive RNA structures regulated by changes in cellular iron and oxygen


DOI: 10.1007/s00018-007-7198-4

Cite this article as:
Leipuviene, R. & Theil, E.C. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2007) 64: 2945. doi:10.1007/s00018-007-7198-4


The life of aerobes is dependent on iron and oxygen for efficient bioenergetics. Due to potential risks associated with iron/oxygen chemistry, iron acquisition, concentration, storage, utilization, and efflux are tightly regulated in the cell. A central role in regulating iron/oxygen chemistry in animals is played by mRNA translation or turnover via the iron responsive element (IRE)/iron regulatory protein (IRP) system. The IRE family is composed of three-dimensional RNA structures located in 3′ or 5′ untranslated regions of mRNA. To date, there are 11 different IRE mRNAs in the family, regulated through translation initiation or mRNA stability. Iron or oxidant stimuli induce a set of graded responses related to mRNA-specific IRE substructures, indicated by differential responses to iron in vivo and binding IRPs in vitro. Molecular effects of phosphorylation, iron and oxygen remain to be added to the structural information of the IRE-RNA and IRP repressor in the regulatory complex.


IronoxygenmRNA regulationIRE/IRP systemiron regulatory proteiniron-responsive element

Copyright information

© Birkhaueser 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for BioIron at CHORI (Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Children’s Hospital & Research Center at Oakland)OaklandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Nutritional Sciences and ToxicologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Fermentas UABVilniusLithuania