Iron regulatory protein 2 turnover through a nonproteasomal pathway

J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 8;286(27):23698-707. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.216788. Epub 2011 May 10.


Iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2) controls the synthesis of many proteins involved in iron metabolism, and the level of IRP2 itself is regulated by varying the rate of its degradation. The proteasome is known to mediate degradation, with specificity conferred by an iron-sensing E3 ligase. Most studies on the degradation of IRP2 have employed cells overexpressing IRP2 and also rendered iron deficient to further increase IRP2 levels. We utilized a sensitive, quantitative assay for IRP2, which allowed study of endogenous IRP2 degradation in HEK293A cells under more physiologic conditions. We found that under these conditions, the proteasome plays only a minor role in the degradation of IRP2, with almost all the IRP2 being degraded by a nonproteasomal pathway. This new pathway is calcium-dependent but is not mediated by calpain. Elevating the cellular level of IRP2 by inducing iron deficiency or by transfection causes the proteasomal pathway to account for the major fraction of IRP2 degradation. We conclude that under physiological, iron-sufficient conditions, the steady-state level of IRP2 in HEK293A cells is regulated by the nonproteasomal pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron Regulatory Protein 2 / genetics
  • Iron Regulatory Protein 2 / metabolism*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / genetics
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism


  • Iron
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • IREB2 protein, human
  • Iron Regulatory Protein 2
  • Calcium