Sustained expression of heme oxygenase-1 alters iron homeostasis in nonerythroid cells

Centre for Vascular Research, School of Medical Sciences (Pathology) and Bosch Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.74). 04/2012; 53(2):366-74. DOI: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.03.007
Source: PubMed


Heme oxygenases initiate the catabolism of heme, releasing carbon monoxide, iron, and biliverdin. Sustained induction of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in nonerythroid cells plays a key role in many pathological processes, yet the effect of long-term HO-1 expression on cellular iron metabolism in the absence of exogenous heme is poorly understood. Here we report that in a model nonerythroid cell, both transient and stable HO-1 expression increased heme oxygenase activity, but total cellular heme content was decreased only with transient enzyme expression. Sustained HO-1 activity increased the expression of both the mitochondrial iron importer mitoferrin-2 and the rate-limiting enzyme in heme synthesis, aminolevulinate synthase-1, and it augmented the mitochondrial content of heme. Also, the expression of transferrin receptor-1 and the activities of iron-regulatory proteins 1 and 2 decreased, whereas total labile iron and the regulatory activity of the heme-binding transcription factor Bach1 were unaltered. In addition, stable, but not transient, HO-1 expression decreased the activities of aconitase, as well as increasing proteasomal degradation of ferritin. Together, our results reveal a novel and coordinated adaptive response of nonerythroid cells to sustained HO-1 induction that has an impact on cellular iron homeostasis.

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