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Iron is an essential element in biological systems, but excess iron promotes the formation of reactive oxygen species, resulting in cellular toxicity. Several iron-related genes are highly expressed in the liver, a tissue in which hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) plays a critical role in controlling gene expression. Therefore, the role of hepatic HNF4α in iron homeostasis was examined using liver-specific HNF4α-null mice (Hnf4a(ΔH) mice). Hnf4a(ΔH) mice exhibit hypoferremia and a significant change in hepatic gene expression. Notably, the expression of transferrin receptor 2 (Tfr2) mRNA was markedly decreased in Hnf4a(ΔH) mice. Promoter analysis of the Tfr2 gene showed that the basal promoter was located at a GC-rich region upstream of the transcription start site, a region that can be transactivated in an HNF4α-independent manner. HNF4α-dependent expression of Tfr2 was mediated by a proximal promoter containing two HNF4α-binding sites located between the transcription start site and the translation start site. Both the GC-rich region of the basal promoter and the HNF4α-binding sites were required for maximal transactivation. Moreover, siRNA knockdown of HNF4α suppressed TFR2 expression in human HCC cells. These results suggest that Tfr2 is a novel target gene for HNF4α, and hepatic HNF4α plays a critical role in iron homeostasis. © 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Shunsuke Matsuo, Masayuki Ogawa, Martina U Muckenthaler, Yumiko Mizui, Shota Sasaki, Takafumi Fujimura, Masayuki Takizawa, Nagayuki Ariga, Hiroaki Ozaki, Masakiyo Sakaguchi, Frank J Gonzalez, Yusuke Inoue. Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4α Controls Iron Metabolism and Regulates Transferrin Receptor 2 in Mouse Liver. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2015 Dec 25;290(52):30855-65

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PMID: 26527688

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