Mitochondrial ferritin expression in human macrophages is facilitated by thrombin-mediated cleavage under hypoxia

Dominik C. Fuhrmann, Sabrina Becker, and Bernhard Brüne 
FEBS Lett. 2022 Nov 23. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.
PMID: 36416578.

Ferritins are iron storage proteins, which maintain cellular iron homeostasis. Among these proteins, the ferritin heavy chain is well characterized, but the regulatory principles of mitochondrial ferritin (FTMT) remain elusive. FTMT appears to be cleaved from a 27 kDa to a 22 kDa form. In human macrophages, FTMT increased under hypoxia in a hypoxia-inducible factor 2-dependent manner. Occurrence of FTMT resulted from cleavage by thrombin, which was supplied by serum. Inhibition of thrombin as well as serum removal decreased FTMT, while supplementation of thrombin under serum-deprived conditions restored its expression. Besides hypoxia, thrombin facilitated FTMT expression after treatment with the ferroptosis inducer RSL3 and the pro-inflammatory stimulus lipopolysaccharide. This study provides insights into the regulation of FTMT under hypoxia and identifies thrombin as a FTMT maturation-associated peptidase.

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