|Solute carrier family 40 (iron-regulated transporter), member 1|
|Symbols||; FPN1; HFE4; IREG1; MST079; MTP1; SLC11A3|
Ferroportin-1 also known as solute carrier family 40 member 1 (SLC40A1) or iron-regulated transporter 1 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the SLC40A1 gene. Ferroportin is a transmembrane protein that transports iron from the inside of a cell to the outside of it.
Ferroportin is found on the surface of cells that store or transport iron, including:
Role in development
Mouse embyros lacking the Scl40a1 gene are aborted before gastrulation occurs, proving that the Fpn1 protein encoded is necessary and essential for normal embryonic development. Fpn1 is expressed in the syncytiotrophoblast cells in the placenta and visceral endoderm of mice at E7.5. Further, several retrospective studies have noted an increased incidence of spina bifida occurring after low maternal intake of iron during embryonic and fetal development.
A recent study examining the consequences of several different mutations of the Slc40a1 mouse gene concluded that several serious neural tube and patterning defects were produced as a result, including spina bifida, exencephaly, and forebrain truncations, among others. Given the findings of studies to date, there appears to be significant evidence that intact iron transport mechanisms are critical to normal neural tube closure. Furthermore, other experiments have suggested that Fpn1 product and activity is required along the entire anterior-posterior axis of the animal to ensure proper closure of the neural tube.
Role in iron metabolism
Recent research suggests that ferroportin is inhibited by hepcidin, which binds to ferroportin and internalises it within the cell. This results in the retention of iron within cells, and a reduction in iron levels within the plasma. This is especially significant in enterocytes which are shed at the end of their lifespan where ferroportin is expressed on the basolateral membranes. The extra iron retained within them is not only prevented from entering the bloodstream but ends up being excreted into the faeces. Hepcidin is thus the "master regulator" of human iron metabolism.
This is part of the mechanism that causes anaemia of chronic disease; hepcidin is released from the liver in response to inflammatory cytokines, namely interleukin-6, which results in an increased hepcidin concentration and a consequent decrease in plasma iron levels.
Mutations in the ferroportin gene are known to cause an autosomal dominant form of iron overload known as Type IV Haemochromatosis or Ferroportin Disease. The effects of the mutations are generally not severe but a spectrum of clinical outcomes are seen with different mutations. Ferroportin is also associated with African iron overload. Ferroportin and hepcidin are critical proteins for the regulation of systemic iron homeostasis. Both ferroportin and hepcidin are expressed in cultured human breast epithelial cells and hepcidin regulates ferroportin in these cells. Transfection of breast cancer cells with ferroportin significantly reduces their growth after orthotopic implantation in the mouse mammary fat pad. Ferroportin is a pivotal protein in breast biology and a strong and independent predictor of prognosis in breast cancer.
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