Mdm2 is a target and mediator of IRP2 in cell growth control

Jin Zhang, Xiangmudong Kong, Yanhong Zhang, Wenqiang Sun, Enshun Xu, Xinbin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Iron is an essential element to all living organisms and plays a vital role in many cellular processes, such as DNA synthesis and energy production. The Mdm2 oncogene is an E3 ligase and known to promote tumor growth. However, the role of Mdm2 in iron homeostasis is not certain. Here, we showed that Mdm2 expression was increased by iron depletion but decreased by iron repletion. We also showed that Iron Regulatory Protein 2 (IRP2) mediated iron-regulated Mdm2 expression. Specifically, Mdm2 expression was increased by ectopic IRP2 but decreased by knockdown or knockout of IRP2 in human cancer cells as well as in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. In addition, we showed that IRP2-regulated Mdm2 expression was independent of tumor suppressor p53. Mechanistically, we found that IRP2 stabilized Mdm2 transcript via binding to an iron response element (IRE) in the 3ʹUTR of Mdm2 mRNA. Finally, we showed that Mdm2 is required for IRP2-mediated cell proliferation and Mdm2 expression is highly associated with IRP2 in both the normal and cancerous liver tissues. Together, we uncover a novel regulation of Mdm2 by IRP2 via mRNA stability and that the IRP2-Mdm2 axis may play a critical role in cell growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2301-2311
Number of pages11
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Iron homeostasis
  • Iron-response element (IRE)
  • IRP2
  • Mdm2
  • mRNA stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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