Publication Date

6-11-2024

Journal

Blood Advances

Abstract

Hemojuvelin (HJV) is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein of the repulsive guidance molecule family acting as a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) coreceptor to induce the hepatic iron regulatory protein hepcidin. Hepcidin causes ubiquitination and degradation of the sole known iron exporter ferroportin, thereby limiting iron availability. The detailed signaling mechanism of HJV in vivo has yet to be investigated. In the current manuscript, we used an established model of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated liver-specific overexpression of HJV in murine models of hepatocyte-specific deficiency of the BMP type I receptors Alk2 or Alk3. In control mice, HJV overexpression increased hepatic Hamp messenger RNA (mRNA) levels, soluble HJV (sHJV), splenic iron content (SIC), as well as phosphorylated small mothers against decapentaplegic protein (pSMAD1/5/8) levels. In contrast, in Alk2fl/fl;Alb-Cre and Alk3fl/fl;Alb-Cre mice, which present with moderate and severe iron overload, respectively, the administration of AAV-HJV induced HJV and sHJV. However, it did not rescue the iron overload phenotypes of those mice. Serum iron levels were induced in Alk2fl/fl;Alb-Cre mice after HJV overexpression. In phosphate-buffered saline-injected Alk3fl/fl;Alb-Cre mice, serum iron levels and the expression of duodenal ferroportin remained high, whereas Hamp mRNA levels were decreased to 1% to 5% of the levels detected in controls. This was reduced even further by AAV-HJV overexpression. SIC remained low in mice with hepatocyte-specific Alk2 or Alk3 deficiency, reflecting disturbed iron homeostasis with high serum iron levels and transferrin saturation and an inability to induce hepcidin by HJV overexpression. The data indicate that ALK2 and ALK3 are both required in vivo for the HJV-mediated induction of hepcidin.

Keywords

Animals, Mice, GPI-Linked Proteins, Hepcidins, Hemochromatosis Protein, Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type I, Liver, Iron, Iron Overload, Activin Receptors, Type I, Activin Receptors, Type II

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