Involvement of heme regulatory motif in heme-mediated ubiquitination and degradation of IRP2

Mol Cell. 2005 Jul 22;19(2):171-81. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2005.05.027.


Iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2), a regulator of iron metabolism, is modulated by ubiquitination and degradation. We have shown that IRP2 degradation is triggered by heme-mediated oxidation. We report here that not only Cys201, an invariant residue in the heme regulatory motif (HRM), but also His204 is critical for IRP2 degradation. Spectroscopic studies revealed that Cys201 binds ferric heme, whereas His204 is a ferrous heme binding site, indicating the involvement of these residues in sensing the redox state of the heme iron and in generating the oxidative modification. Moreover, the HRM in IRP2 has been suggested to play a critical role in its recognition by the HOIL-1 ubiquitin ligase. Although HRMs are known to sense heme concentration by simply binding to heme, the HRM in IRP2 specifically contributes to its oxidative modification, its recognition by the ligase, and its sensing of iron concentration after iron is integrated into heme.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / physiology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cysteine / chemistry
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Heme / chemistry
  • Heme / metabolism*
  • Histidine / chemistry
  • Histidine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Iron Regulatory Protein 2 / chemistry
  • Iron Regulatory Protein 2 / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin / chemistry
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism*


  • Ubiquitin
  • Heme
  • Histidine
  • Iron
  • Iron Regulatory Protein 2
  • Cysteine