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Hemojuvelin (HJV/HFE2/RGMc) is a membrane protein that is responsible for the iron overload condition known as juvenile hemochromatosis, a severe form of hereditary hemochromatosis. Mutations in HJV are responsible for the vast majority of juvenile hemochromatosis patients. A small number of patients have mutations in the hepcidin (HAMP) gene. The gene was positionally cloned by Papanikolaou et al. in 2003.  Hemojuvelin is highly expressed in the liver, skeletal muscle and heart. One insight into the pathogenesis of juvenile hemochromatosis is that patients have low to undetectable urinary hepcidin levels, suggesting that hemojuvelin is a positive regulator of hepcidin, the central iron regulatory hormone. As a result, low hepcidin levels would result in increased intestinal iron absorption.
Additional recommended knowledge
For many years the signal transduction pathways that regulate systemic iron homeostasis have been unknown. However, an important study by Babitt et al. revealed that hemojuvelin is a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) co-receptor and signals via the SMAD pathway to regulate hepcidin expression.
Mouse HJV knock-out models produced by Huang et al. and Niederkofler et al. confirmed that HJV is the gene responsible for juvenile hemochromatosis. Furthermore, the researchers showed that hepcidin levels in the liver are dramatically depressed.
Recent studies by Lin et al. suggest that soluble HJV may be a molecule that suppresses hepcidin expression.
Kuninger, et al., recently demonstrated that two classes of GPI-anchored and glycosylated RGMc molecules are targeted to the membrane and undergo distinct fates. (1) Full-length RGMc is released from the cell surface and accumulates in extracellular fluid, where its half-life exceeds 24 hours. By contrast, (2) the predominant membrane-associated isoform, a disulfide-linked heterodimer composed of N- and C-terminal fragments, is not found in the extracellular fluid, and is short-lived, as it disappears from the cell surface with a half-life of <3 hours after interruption of protein synthesis.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hemojuvelin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.