, Volume 64, Issue 22, pp 2945-2955
Date: 13 Sep 2007

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

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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.