Cross-species comparison of genomewide gene expression profiles reveals induction of hypoxia-inducible factor-responsive genes in iron-deprived intestinal epithelial cells
J. F. Collins
Molecular mechanisms mediating the induction of metal ion homeostasis-related genes in the mammalian intestine during iron deficiency remain unknown. To elucidate relevant regulatory pathways, genomewide gene expression profiles were determined in fully differentiated human intestinal epithelial (Caco-2) cells. Cells were deprived of iron (or not) for 6 or 18 h, and Gene Chip analyses were subsequently performed (Affymetrix). More than 2,000 genes were differentially expressed; genes related to monosaccharide metabolism, regulation of gene expression, hypoxia, and cell death were upregulated, while those related to mitotic cell cycle were downregulated. A large proportion of induced genes are hypoxia responsive, and promoter enrichment analyses revealed a statistical overrepresentation of hypoxia response elements (HREs). Immunoblot experiments demonstrated a >60-fold increase in HIF2 protein abundance in iron-deprived cells; HIF1 levels were unchanged. Furthermore, comparison of the Caco-2 cell data set with a Gene Chip data set from iron-deficient rat intestine revealed 29 common upregulated genes; the majority are hypoxia responsive, and their promoters are enriched for HREs. We conclude that the compensatory response of the intestinal epithelium to iron deprivation relates to hypoxia and that stabilization of HIF2 may be the primary event mediating metabolic and morphological changes observed during iron deficiency.