Regulation of p27Kip1 by intracellular iron levels

Gang Wang, Robin Miskimins, W. Keith Miskimins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Enhanced intracellular iron levels are essential for proliferation of mammalian cells. If cells have entered S phase when iron is limiting, an adequate supply of deoxynucleotides cannot be maintained and the cells arrest with incompletely replicated DNA. In contrast, proliferating cells that are not in S phase, but have low iron pools, arrest in late G1. In this report the mechanism of iron-dependent G1 arrest in normal fibroblasts was investigated. Cells were synchronized in G0 by contact inhibition and serum deprivation. Addition of serum caused the cells to re-enter the cell cycle and enter S phase. However, if the cells were also treated with the iron chelator deferoxamine, S phase entry was blocked. This corresponded to elevated levels of the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1 and inhibition of CDK2 activity. Expression of other cell cycle regulatory proteins was not affected, including the induction of cyclins D1 and E. When the quiescent serum starved cells were supplemented with a readily usable form of iron in the absence of serum or any other growth factors, a significant population of the cells entered S phase. This was associated with downregulation of p27Kip1 and increased CDK2 activity. Using an IPTG-responsive construct to artificially raise p27 Kip1 levels blocked the ability of iron supplementation to promote S phase entry. Thus it appears that p27Kip1 is a mediator of G1 arrest in iron depleted Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts. We propose that this is part of an iron-sensitive checkpoint that functions to ensure that cells have sufficient iron pools to support DNA synthesis prior to entry into S phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Metals and Alloys


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