Iron-independent phosphorylation of iron regulatory protein 2 regulates ferritin during the cell cycle.
Iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2) is a key iron sensor that post-transcriptionally regulates mammalian iron homeostasis by binding to iron-responsive elements (IREs) in mRNAs that encode proteins involved in iron metabolism (e.g. ferritin and transferrin receptor 1). During iron deficiency, IRP2 binds IREs to regulate mRNA translation or stability whereas during iron sufficiency IRP2 is degraded by the proteasome. Here, we identify an iron-independent IRP2 phosphorylation site that is regulated by the cell cycle. IRP2 S157 is phosphorylated by Cdk1/cyclin B1 during G2/M and is dephosphorylated during mitotic exit by the phosphatase Cdc14A. S157 phosphorylation during G2/M reduces IRP2 RNA-binding activity and increases ferritin synthesis, while S157 dephosphorylation during mitotic exit restores IRP2 RNA-binding activity and represses ferritin synthesis. These data show that reversible phosphorylation of IRP2 during G2/M has a role in modulating the iron-independent expression of ferritin and other IRE-containing mRNAs during the cell cycle.