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Marilyn M. Lall, Jenny Ferrell, Steve Nagar, Lloyd N. Fleisher, M. Christine McGahan; Iron Regulates L-Cystine Uptake and Glutathione Levels in Lens Epithelial and Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells by Its Effect on Cytosolic Aconitase. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(1):310-319. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-1041.
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purpose. The authors previously published the novel finding that iron regulates L-glutamate synthesis and accumulation in the cell-conditioned medium (CCM) by increasing cytosolic aconitase activity in cultured lens epithelial cells (LECs), retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, and neurons. The present study was designed to determine whether iron-induced L-glutamate accumulation in the CCM regulates L-cystine uptake and glutathione (GSH) levels through the aconitase pathway in LECs and RPE cells.
methods. The presence of xCT, the light chain of Xc −, a glutamate/cystine antiporter, was analyzed by RT-PCR, immunoblotting, and immunocytochemistry. Uptake of L-[35S]cystine and L-[3H]glutamate was measured in the presence or absence of transporter inhibitors. L-cystine uptake and intracellular GSH concentration were measured in the presence or absence of iron-saturated transferrin, the iron chelator dipyridyl (DP), or oxalomalic acid (OMA), an aconitase inhibitor.
results. LECs and RPE cells express xCT, as evidenced by RT-PCR analysis and immunoblotting. xCT was localized by immunocytochemistry. The authors found that the iron-induced increase in L-glutamate availability increased L-cystine uptake, with subsequent increases in GSH levels. In addition, L-glutamate production, L-cystine uptake, and GSH concentration were inhibited by OMA and DP, indicating a central role for iron-regulated aconitase activity in GSH synthesis in LECs and RPE cells.
conclusions. These results demonstrate for the first time that iron regulates L-cystine uptake and the downstream production of GSH in two mammalian cell types. It is possible that the increase in intracellular antioxidant concentration induced by iron serves as a protective mechanism against the well-established capacity of iron to induce oxidative damage.
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