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1.  Inter-ethnic differences in genetic variants within the transmembrane protease, serine 6 (TMPRSS6) gene associated with iron status indicators: a systematic review with meta-analyses 
Genes & Nutrition  2014;10(1):442.
Transmembrane protease, serine 6 (TMPRSS6), is likely to be involved in iron metabolism through its pleiotropic effect on hepcidin concentrations. Recently, genome-wide association studies have identified common variants in the TMPRSS6 gene to be linked to anaemia and low iron status. To get a more precise evaluation of identified TMPRSS6 single nucleotide polymorphism associations with iron status in cohorts of differing continental ancestry, we conducted a systematic review with meta-analyses. We searched the literature using HuGE Navigator, Pubmed and Scopus databases for primarily genome-wide association studies using TMPRSS6 as a free term. Fixed-effects meta-analysis was used to obtain summary estimates of associations. Eleven studies comprised Caucasian populations, four included an Asian population and one study included an African-American population. Differences in minor allele frequencies of 8 TMPRSS6 SNPs (rs855791, rs4820268, rs2111833, rs1421312, rs228921, rs228918, rs228919 and rs575620) across ethnic groups were observed, with the MAF of rs855791 significantly higher in Asian populations than in Caucasians (0.55 vs 0.42, P < 0.0001). In the meta-analysis, the A allele of rs855791 was associated with lower Hb and ferritin concentrations in all populations. This allele was also associated with increased serum transferrin receptor and transferrin concentrations. We observed similar associations for the G allele in rs4820268. Clear disparities in associations were found for the African-American population, although not statistically significant. Associations between TMPRSS6 SNPs and anaemia are consistent across Caucasian and Asian populations. This study highlights the need to conduct studies in African populations where iron deficiency is of utmost public health significance.
PMCID: PMC4240767  PMID: 25416640
Systematic review; Meta-analyses; TMPRSS6; Iron status
2.  TMPRSS6 rs855791 Polymorphism Influences the Susceptibility to Iron Deficiency Anemia in Women at Reproductive Age 
Background: Genome-wide-association studies have identified the TMPRSS6 polymorphism rs855791 has the strongest association with red blood cell indices or iron parameters in general population. Whether this genetic variant influences the susceptibility of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in women with menstruation has not been well studied.
Methods: In this case-control study, we enrolled 67 women with IDA and 107 healthy volunteers, and analyzed their complete blood counts, rs855791 genotypes, and menstrual amounts. Menstrual blood loss was evaluated with a pictorial blood-loss assessment chart.
Results: There were significantly fewer rs855791 C homozygotes in the IDA group than in the healthy group (11.9% vs. 25.2%, p = 0.03). The odds ratio (OR) of C homozygotes having IDA versus non-CC subjects having IDA was 0.4 (95% CI, 0.17 - 0.95, p = 0.04). When the analysis was confined to study subjects with menorrhagia, this difference became more prominent (9.6% vs. 28.6%, p = 0.01; OR, 0.27, 95% CI, 0.09 - 0.77, p = 0.01). For women with non-CC genotypes, there was an inverse correlation between hemoglobin levels and menstrual loss (p < 0.001); however, this association was not found for those with genotypes CC (p = 0.15).
Conclusions: Our study suggests homozygosity for TMPRSS6 rs855791 C genotype has a protective role against IDA in women at reproductive age, especially in those with menorrhagia.
PMCID: PMC4003547  PMID: 24782651
iron deficiency anemia; menorrhagia; single nucleotide polymorphism; rs855791; transmembrane protease serine 6 (TMPRSS6)
3.  The A736V TMPRSS6 polymorphism influences hepcidin and iron metabolism in chronic hemodialysis patients: TMPRSS6 and hepcidin in hemodialysis 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:48.
Aim of this study was to evaluate whether the A736V TMPRSS6 polymorphism, a major genetic determinant of iron metabolism in healthy subjects, influences serum levels of hepcidin, the hormone regulating iron metabolism, and erythropoiesis in chronic hemodialysis (CHD).
To this end, we considered 199 CHD patients from Northern Italy (157 with hepcidin evaluation), and 188 healthy controls without iron deficiency, matched for age and gender. Genetic polymorphisms were evaluated by allele specific polymerase chain reaction assays, and hepcidin quantified by mass spectrometry.
Serum hepcidin levels were not different between the whole CHD population and controls (median 7.1, interquartile range (IQR) 0.55-17.1 vs. 7.4, 4.5-17.9 nM, respectively), but were higher in the CHD subgroup after exclusion of subjects with relative iron deficiency (p = 0.04). In CHD patients, the A736V TMPRSS6 polymorphism influenced serum hepcidin levels in individuals positive for mutations in the HFE gene of hereditary hemochromatosis (p < 0.0001). In particular, the TMPRSS6 736 V variant was associated with higher hepcidin levels (p = 0.017). At multivariate analysis, HFE and A736V TMPRSS6 genotypes predicted serum hepcidin independently of ferritin and C reactive protein (p = 0.048). In patients without acute inflammation and overt iron deficiency (C reactive protein <1 mg/dl and ferritin >30 ng/ml; n = 86), hepcidin was associated with lower mean corpuscular volume (p = 0.002), suggesting that it contributed to iron-restricted erythropoiesis. In line with previous results, in patients without acute inflammation and severe iron deficiency the “high hepcidin” 736 V TMPRSS6 variant was associated with higher erythropoietin maintenance dose (p = 0.016), independently of subclinical inflammation (p = 0.02).
The A736V TMPRSS6 genotype influences hepcidin levels, erythropoiesis, and anemia management in CHD patients. Evaluation of the effect of TMPRSS6 genotype on clinical outcomes in prospective studies in CHD may be useful to predict the outcomes of hepcidin manipulation, and to guide treatment personalization by optimizing anemia management.
PMCID: PMC3585892  PMID: 23433094
Anemia; Chronic kidney disease; Erythropoietin; Genetics; Inflammation; Iron; Hemodialysis; Hepcidin; Hfe gene; Matriptase-2; Tmprss6
4.  Common Variants at 10 Genomic Loci Influence Hemoglobin A1C Levels via Glycemic and Nonglycemic Pathways 
Diabetes  2010;59(12):3229-3239.
Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), used to monitor and diagnose diabetes, is influenced by average glycemia over a 2- to 3-month period. Genetic factors affecting expression, turnover, and abnormal glycation of hemoglobin could also be associated with increased levels of HbA1c. We aimed to identify such genetic factors and investigate the extent to which they influence diabetes classification based on HbA1c levels.
We studied associations with HbA1c in up to 46,368 nondiabetic adults of European descent from 23 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and 8 cohorts with de novo genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We combined studies using inverse-variance meta-analysis and tested mediation by glycemia using conditional analyses. We estimated the global effect of HbA1c loci using a multilocus risk score, and used net reclassification to estimate genetic effects on diabetes screening.
Ten loci reached genome-wide significant association with HbA1c, including six new loci near FN3K (lead SNP/P value, rs1046896/P = 1.6 × 10−26), HFE (rs1800562/P = 2.6 × 10−20), TMPRSS6 (rs855791/P = 2.7 × 10−14), ANK1 (rs4737009/P = 6.1 × 10−12), SPTA1 (rs2779116/P = 2.8 × 10−9) and ATP11A/TUBGCP3 (rs7998202/P = 5.2 × 10−9), and four known HbA1c loci: HK1 (rs16926246/P = 3.1 × 10−54), MTNR1B (rs1387153/P = 4.0 × 10−11), GCK (rs1799884/P = 1.5 × 10−20) and G6PC2/ABCB11 (rs552976/P = 8.2 × 10−18). We show that associations with HbA1c are partly a function of hyperglycemia associated with 3 of the 10 loci (GCK, G6PC2 and MTNR1B). The seven nonglycemic loci accounted for a 0.19 (% HbA1c) difference between the extreme 10% tails of the risk score, and would reclassify ∼2% of a general white population screened for diabetes with HbA1c.
GWAS identified 10 genetic loci reproducibly associated with HbA1c. Six are novel and seven map to loci where rarer variants cause hereditary anemias and iron storage disorders. Common variants at these loci likely influence HbA1c levels via erythrocyte biology, and confer a small but detectable reclassification of diabetes diagnosis by HbA1c.
PMCID: PMC2992787  PMID: 20858683
5.  Severe Microcytic Anemia but Increased Erythropoiesis in Mice Lacking Hfe or Tfr2 and Tmprss6 
Blood cells, molecules & diseases  2012;48(3):173-178.
Cell surface proteins Hfe, Tfr2, hemojuvelin and Tmprss6 play key roles in iron homeostasis. Hfe and Tfr2 induce transcription of hepcidin, a small peptide that promotes the degradation of the iron transporter ferroportin. Hemojuvelin, a co-receptor for bone morphogenic proteins, induces hepcidin transcription through a Smad signaling pathway. Tmprss6 (also known as matriptase-2), a membrane serine protease that has been found to bind and degrade hemojuvelin in vitro, is a potent suppressor of hepcidin expression. In order to examine if Hfe and Tfr2 are substrates for Tmprss6, we generated mice lacking functional Hfe or Tfr2 and Tmprss6. We found that double mutant mice lacking functional Hfe or Tfr2 and Tmprss6 exhibited a severe iron deficiency microcytic anemia phenotype mimicking the phenotype of single mutant mice lacking functional Tmprss6 (Tmprss6 msk/msk mutant) demonstrating that Hfe and Tfr2 are not substrates for Tmprss6. Nevertheless, the phenotype of the mice lacking Hfe or Tfr2 and Tmprss6 differed from Tmprss6 deficient mice alone, in that the double mutant mice exhibited much greater erythropoiesis. Hfe and Tfr2 have been shown to play important roles in the erythron, independent of their role in regulating liver hepcidin transcription. We demonstrate that lack of functional Tfr2 and Hfe allow for increased erythropoiesis even in the presence of high hepcidin expression, but the high levels of hepcidin levels significantly limit the availability of iron to the erythron, resulting in ineffective erythropoiesis. Furthermore, repression of hepcidin expression was unaffected by loss of functional Hfe, Tfr2 and Tmprss6.
PMCID: PMC3294186  PMID: 22244935
hepcidin; iron; TMPRSS6; hemochromatosis; anemia; HFE; TFR2; matriptase
6.  A Strong Anti-Inflammatory Signature Revealed by Liver Transcription Profiling of Tmprss6−/− Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69694.
Control of systemic iron homeostasis is interconnected with the inflammatory response through the key iron regulator, the antimicrobial peptide hepcidin. We have previously shown that mice with iron deficiency anemia (IDA)-low hepcidin show a pro-inflammatory response that is blunted in iron deficient-high hepcidin Tmprss6 KO mice. The transcriptional response associated with chronic hepcidin overexpression due to genetic inactivation of Tmprss6 is unknown. By using whole genome transcription profiling of the liver and analysis of spleen immune-related genes we identified several functional pathways differentially expressed in Tmprss6 KO mice, compared to IDA animals and thus irrespective of the iron status. In the effort of defining genes potentially targets of Tmprss6 we analyzed liver gene expression changes according to the genotype and independently of treatment. Tmprss6 inactivation causes down-regulation of liver pathways connected to immune and inflammatory response as well as spleen genes related to macrophage activation and inflammatory cytokines production. The anti-inflammatory status of Tmprss6 KO animals was confirmed by the down-regulation of pathways related to immunity, stress response and intracellular signaling in both liver and spleen after LPS treatment. Opposite to Tmprss6 KO mice, Hfe−/− mice are characterized by iron overload with inappropriately low hepcidin levels. Liver expression profiling of Hfe−/− deficient versus iron loaded mice show the opposite expression of some of the genes modulated by the loss of Tmprss6. Altogether our results confirm the anti-inflammatory status of Tmprss6 KO mice and identify new potential target pathways/genes of Tmprss6.
PMCID: PMC3726786  PMID: 23922777
7.  Retinal expression of the serine protease matriptase-2 (Tmprss6) and its role in retinal iron homeostasis 
Molecular Vision  2014;20:561-574.
Matriptase-2 (also known as TMPRSS6) is a critical regulator of the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin in the liver; matriptase-2 cleaves membrane-bound hemojuvelin and consequently alters bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling. Hemojuvelin and hepcidin are expressed in the retina and play a critical role in retinal iron homeostasis. However, no information on the expression and function of matriptase-2 in the retina is available. The purpose of the present study was to examine the retinal expression of matriptase-2 and its role in retinal iron homeostasis.
RT–PCR, quantitative PCR (qPCR), and immunofluorescence were used to analyze the expression of matriptase-2 and other iron-regulatory proteins in the mouse retina. Polarized localization of matriptase-2 in the RPE was evaluated using markers for the apical and basolateral membranes. Morphometric analysis of retinas from wild-type and matriptase-2 knockout (Tmprss6msk/msk) mice was also performed. Retinal iron status in Tmprss6msk/msk mice was evaluated by comparing the expression levels of ferritin and transferrin receptor 1 between wild-type and knockout mice. BMP signaling was monitored by the phosphorylation status of Smads1/5/8 and expression levels of Id1 while interleukin-6 signaling was monitored by the phosphorylation status of STAT3.
Matriptase-2 is expressed in the mouse retina with expression detectable in all retinal cell types. Expression of matriptase-2 is restricted to the apical membrane in the RPE where hemojuvelin, the substrate for matriptase-2, is also present. There is no marked difference in retinal morphology between wild-type mice and Tmprss6msk/msk mice, except minor differences in specific retinal layers. The knockout mouse retina is iron-deficient, demonstrable by downregulation of the iron-storage protein ferritin and upregulation of transferrin receptor 1 involved in iron uptake. Hepcidin is upregulated in Tmprss6msk/msk mouse retinas, particularly in the neural retina. BMP signaling is downregulated while interleukin-6 signaling is upregulated in Tmprss6msk/msk mouse retinas, suggesting that the upregulaton of hepcidin in knockout mouse retinas occurs through interleukin-6 signaling and not through BMP signaling.
The iron-regulatory serine protease matriptase-2 is expressed in the retina, and absence of this enzyme leads to iron deficiency and increased expression of hemojuvelin and hepcidin in the retina. The upregulation of hepcidin expression in Tmprss6msk/msk mouse retinas does not occur via BMP signaling but likely via the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6. We conclude that matriptase-2 is a critical participant in retinal iron homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC4000719  PMID: 24791141
8.  The A736V TMPRSS6 Polymorphism Influences Hepatic Iron Overload in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48804.
Background & Aims
Hepatic iron accumulation due to altered trafficking is frequent in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and is associated with more severe liver damage and hepatocellular carcinoma. The p.Ala736Val TMPRSS6 variant influences iron metabolism regulating the transcription of the hepatic hormone hepcidin, but its role in the pathogenesis of iron overload disorders is controversial. Aim of this study was to evaluate the whether the TMPRSS6 p.Ala736Val variant influences hepatic iron accumulation in a well-characterized series of Italian patients with histological NAFLD.
216 patients with histological NAFLD. TMPRSS6 and HFE variants were assessed by allele specific PCR, liver histology by the NAFLD activity score and Perls' staining for iron.
Homozygosity for the p.736Val allele previously linked to higher hepcidin did not influence transferrin saturation (TS), but was associated with lower hepatic iron stores (p = 0.01), and ferritin levels (median 223 IQR 102–449 vs. 308 IQR 141–618 ng/ml; p = 0.01). Homozygosity for TMPRSS6 p.736Val was nearly associated with lower ballooning (p = 0.05), reflecting hepatocellular damage related to oxidative stress. The influence of TMPRSS6 on hepatic iron accumulation was more marked in patients negative for HFE genotypes predisposing to iron overload (p.Cys282Tyr + and p.His63Asp +/+; p = 0.01), and the p.736Val variant was negatively associated with hepatic iron accumulation independently of age, gender, HFE genotype, and beta-thalassemia trait (OR 0.59, 0.39–0.88).
The p.Ala736Val TMPRSS6 variant influences secondary hepatic iron accumulation in patients with NAFLD.
PMCID: PMC3489825  PMID: 23144979
9.  Common TMPRSS6 mutations and iron, erythrocyte, and pica phenotypes in 48 women with iron deficiency or depletion 
Blood cells, molecules & diseases  2012;48(2):124-127.
TMPRSS6 A736V is associated with lower transferrin saturation (TS), hemoglobin (Hb), and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) levels in general adult populations. We sought to identify relationships of TMPRSS6 K253E, A736V, and Y739Y to iron, erythrocyte, and pica phenotypes in women with iron deficiency or depletion.
We tabulated observations on 48 outpatient non-pregnant women who had iron deficiency (serum ferritin (SF) <14 pmol/L and TS <10%) or iron depletion (SF<112 pmol/L). We performed direct sequencing of TMPRSS6 exons 7 and 17 in each patient. We used age, TS, SF, Hb, MCV, pica, and TMPRSS6 allele positivity (dichotomous) or mutation genotypes (trichotomous) as variables for analyses.
Forty-six women were white; two were black. 58.3% had iron deficiency. 45.8% had pica (pagophagia, each case). Allele frequencies were 41.7% (K253E), 36.5% (A736V), and 39.6% (Y739Y). K253E frequency was greater in women with TS ≥10% (p = 0.0001). Y739Y was more frequent in women with TS <10% (p = 0.0135). Mean TS was also lower in women positive for Y739Y (6 ± 4% vs. 13 ± 16%, respectively; p = 0.0021). In multiple regressions, neither K253E, A736V, nor Y739Y genotypes were significantly associated with other variables.
TMPRSS6 K253E frequency was greater in women with TS ≥10%. Frequency of Y739 was greater in women with TS <10%. Mean TS was lower in women with Y739Y. We observed no other significant relationship of TMPRSS6 K253E, A736V, or Y739Y with iron, erythrocyte, or pica phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3271795  PMID: 22265928
hemoglobin; iron absorption; matriptase-2; mean corpuscular volume; pagophagia; pica
10.  Serum Iron Levels and the Risk of Parkinson Disease: A Mendelian Randomization Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001462.
In this study, Mendelian randomization was used to study genes known to modify iron levels, and the effect of iron on Parkinson's disease (PD) risk was estimated. Based on estimates of the genetic effects on both iron and PD obtained from the largest sample meta-analyzed to date, the findings suggest that increased iron levels in the blood are associated with a 3% reduction in the risk of Parkinson's disease for every 10 µg/dL increase in iron. The results of this analysis have potentially important implications for future research into the prevention of Parkinson's disease.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Although levels of iron are known to be increased in the brains of patients with Parkinson disease (PD), epidemiological evidence on a possible effect of iron blood levels on PD risk is inconclusive, with effects reported in opposite directions. Epidemiological studies suffer from problems of confounding and reverse causation, and mendelian randomization (MR) represents an alternative approach to provide unconfounded estimates of the effects of biomarkers on disease. We performed a MR study where genes known to modify iron levels were used as instruments to estimate the effect of iron on PD risk, based on estimates of the genetic effects on both iron and PD obtained from the largest sample meta-analyzed to date.
Methods and Findings
We used as instrumental variables three genetic variants influencing iron levels, HFE rs1800562, HFE rs1799945, and TMPRSS6 rs855791. Estimates of their effect on serum iron were based on a recent genome-wide meta-analysis of 21,567 individuals, while estimates of their effect on PD risk were obtained through meta-analysis of genome-wide and candidate gene studies with 20,809 PD cases and 88,892 controls. Separate MR estimates of the effect of iron on PD were obtained for each variant and pooled by meta-analysis. We investigated heterogeneity across the three estimates as an indication of possible pleiotropy and found no evidence of it. The combined MR estimate showed a statistically significant protective effect of iron, with a relative risk reduction for PD of 3% (95% CI 1%–6%; p = 0.001) per 10 µg/dl increase in serum iron.
Our study suggests that increased iron levels are causally associated with a decreased risk of developing PD. Further studies are needed to understand the pathophysiological mechanism of action of serum iron on PD risk before recommendations can be made.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Parkinson disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system caused by the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substania nigra, a region of the midbrain. The earliest symptoms are usually movement-related and include tremor, slow movements, and difficulty walking, and later cognitive and behavioral problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease. Parkinson disease affects around ten million people world-wide and incidence increases with age, with men more affected than women. To date, the causes of Parkinson disease remain unknown although a combination of genetic and environmental factors is thought to play a role. Identifying possible modifiable risks is an important step in the possible prevention of Parkinson disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
Previous studies have shown a possible association between lower blood levels of iron in people with Parkinson disease compared with controls, although the quality of these studies makes this finding difficult to interpret. So in this study, the researchers used a mendelian randomization approach to investigate whether there was any evidence of an effect of blood iron levels on the risk of Parkinson disease and if so to further explore the direction and scale of any link. Mendelian randomization is a method of using measured variation in genes of known function to examine the causal effect of a modifiable exposure on disease in situations where it is inappropriate to perform a randomized controlled trial.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers estimated the effect of blood iron levels on the risk of Parkinson disease using three polymorphisms in two genes, HFE and TMPRSS6. For each polymorphism, they performed a meta-analysis combining the results of studies investigating the genetic effect on iron levels, which included almost 22,000 people from Europe and Australia, and a meta-analysis of studies investigating the genetic effect on the risk of Parkinson disease, which included a total of 20,809 people with Parkinson disease and 88,892 controls from Europe and North America. They then performed three separate mendelian randomization analyses to estimate the effect of iron on Parkinson disease for the three polymorphisms. By combining the three estimates, they obtained a statistically significant odds ratio of 0.97 for Parkinson disease per 10 µg/dl increase in iron, corresponding to a 3% reduction in the risk of Parkinson disease for every 10 µg/dl increase in blood iron. Since genotype influences on blood iron levels represent differences that generally persist throughout adult life, the combined mendelian randomization estimate reflects an effect of iron over the course of a lifetime.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that increased iron levels in the blood are associated with a 3% reduction in the risk of Parkinson disease for every 10 µg/dl increase in iron. This finding is important as it suggests that increased blood iron levels may have a protective effect against Parkinson disease, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Furthermore, although mendelian randomization is an increasingly used approach to address the issue of classical confounding, there may be remaining confounding factors specific of mendelian randomization that may influence the interpretation of this study. Nevertheless, the results of this analysis have potentially important implications for future research into the prevention of Parkinson disease. Further studies on the underlying mechanisms are needed before any specific treatment recommendations can be proposed.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The National Institutes of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, MedlinePlus, and NHS Choices have several pages with comprehensive information on Parkinson disease
Wikipedia gives an explanation of mendelian randomization (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC3672214  PMID: 23750121
11.  Characterization of a new full length TMPRSS3 isoform and identification of mutant alleles responsible for nonsyndromic recessive deafness in Newfoundland and Pakistan 
BMC Medical Genetics  2004;5:24.
Mutant alleles of TMPRSS3 are associated with nonsyndromic recessive deafness (DFNB8/B10). TMPRSS3 encodes a predicted secreted serine protease, although the deduced amino acid sequence has no signal peptide. In this study, we searched for mutant alleles of TMPRSS3 in families from Pakistan and Newfoundland with recessive deafness co-segregating with DFNB8/B10 linked haplotypes and also more thoroughly characterized the genomic structure of TMPRSS3.
We enrolled families segregating recessive hearing loss from Pakistan and Newfoundland. Microsatellite markers flanking the TMPRSS3 locus were used for linkage analysis. DNA samples from participating individuals were sequenced for TMPRSS3. The structure of TMPRSS3 was characterized bioinformatically and experimentally by sequencing novel cDNA clones of TMPRSS3.
We identified mutations in TMPRSS3 in four Pakistani families with recessive, nonsyndromic congenital deafness. We also identified two recessive mutations, one of which is novel, of TMPRSS3 segregating in a six-generation extended family from Newfoundland. The spectrum of TMPRSS3 mutations is reviewed in the context of a genotype-phenotype correlation. Our study also revealed a longer isoform of TMPRSS3 with a hitherto unidentified exon encoding a signal peptide, which is expressed in several tissues.
Mutations of TMPRSS3 contribute to hearing loss in many communities worldwide and account for 1.8% (8 of 449) of Pakistani families segregating congenital deafness as an autosomal recessive trait. The newly identified TMPRSS3 isoform e will be helpful in the functional characterization of the full length protein.
PMCID: PMC523852  PMID: 15447792
12.  Role of Matriptase-2 (TMPRSS6) in Iron Metabolism 
Acta Haematologica  2009;122(2-3):87-96.
Iron, an essential element for life, is regulated primarily at the level of uptake, storage, and transport in order to maintain sufficient availability for normal physiology. The key protein in iron homeostasis is a 25-amino-acid peptide, hepcidin, which modulates the amount of iron in the circulation by binding and promoting the degradation of the iron exporter ferroportin. Given the central importance of hepcidin, recent studies have focused on how iron is sensed and how the iron signal is transmitted to hepcidin. Mutations in a type II serine protease, matriptase-2/TMPRSS6, were recently identified to be associated with severe iron deficiency caused by inappropriately high levels of hepcidin expression. A key biologically relevant substrate for the proteolytic activity of matriptase-2/TMPRSS6 was found to be hemojuvelin, a cell surface protein that regulates hepcidin expression through a BMP/SMAD pathway. In this review, we discuss the putative role of matriptase-2/TMPRSS6 in iron homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC2855275  PMID: 19907145
CUB; Hemojuvelin; Hepcidin; Iron; LDLa; Matriptase; TMPRSS; Type II serine protease
13.  Reducing TMPRSS6 ameliorates hemochromatosis and β-thalassemia in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(4):1531-1541.
β-Thalassemia and HFE-related hemochromatosis are 2 of the most frequently inherited disorders worldwide. Both disorders are characterized by low levels of hepcidin (HAMP), the hormone that regulates iron absorption. As a consequence, patients affected by these disorders exhibit iron overload, which is the main cause of morbidity and mortality. HAMP expression is controlled by activation of the SMAD1,5,8/SMAD4 complex. TMPRSS6 is a serine protease that reduces SMAD activation and blocks HAMP expression. We identified second generation antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) targeting mouse Tmprss6. ASO treatment in mice affected by hemochromatosis (Hfe–/–) significantly decreased serum iron, transferrin saturation and liver iron accumulation. Furthermore, ASO treatment of mice affected by β-thalassemia (HBBth3/+ mice, referred to hereafter as th3/+ mice) decreased the formation of insoluble membrane-bound globins, ROS, and apoptosis, and improved anemia. These animals also exhibited lower erythropoietin levels, a significant amelioration of ineffective erythropoiesis (IE) and splenomegaly, and an increase in total hemoglobin levels. These data suggest that ASOs targeting Tmprss6 could be beneficial in individuals with hemochromatosis, β-thalassemia, and related disorders.
PMCID: PMC3613931  PMID: 23524968
14.  A novel TMPRSS6 mutation that prevents protease auto-activation causes IRIDA 
Biochemical Journal  2010;431(Pt 3):363-371.
IRIDA (iron-refractory iron-deficiency anaemia) is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder hallmarked by hypochromic microcytic anaemia, low transferrin saturation and high levels of the iron-regulated hormone hepcidin. The disease is caused by mutations in the transmembrane serine protease TMPRSS6 (transmembrane protease serine 6) that prevent inactivation of HJV (haemojuvelin), an activator of hepcidin transcription. In the present paper, we describe a patient with IRIDA who carries a novel mutation (Y141C) in the SEA domain of the TMPRSS6 gene. Functional characterization of the TMPRSS6(Y141C) mutant protein in cultured cells showed that it localizes to similar subcellular compartments as wild-type TMPRSS6 and binds HJV, but fails to auto-catalytically activate itself. As a consequence, hepcidin mRNA expression is increased, causing the clinical symptoms observed in this IRIDA patient. The present study provides important mechanistic insight into how TMPRSS6 is activated.
PMCID: PMC2958558  PMID: 20704562
haemojuvelin; hepcidin; iron-refractory irondeficiency anaemia (IRIDA); matriptase-2; transmembrane protease serine 6 (TMPRSS6); ALAS2, aminolevulinate δ synthase 2; BMP, bone morphogenetic protein; CUB domain, complement factor C1s/C1r, urchin embryonic growth factor and BMP domain; CMV, cytomegalovirus; DMEM, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium; EGFP, enhanced green fluorescent protein; FBS, fetal bovine serum; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; HJV, haemojuvelin; IRIDA, iron-refractory iron-deficiency anaemia; LDLR domain, low-density-lipoprotein receptor class A domain; ORF, open reading frame; PIC, phosphoinositidase C; qRT-PCR, quantitative real-time PCR; SEA domain, sea urchin sperm protein, enteropeptidase and agrin domain; SELDI–TOF, surface-enhanced laser-desorption ionization–time-of-flight; SLC11A2, solute carrier family 11, member 2; SLC25A28, solute carrier family 25, member 28; TMPRSS6, transmembrane protease serine 6; cdTMPRSS6, catalytic domain of TMPRSS6; TTSP, type II transmembrane serine protease
15.  Expression of TMPRSS4 in non-small cell lung cancer and its modulation by hypoxia 
International Journal of Oncology  2012;41(3):829-838.
Overexpression of TMPRSS4, a cell surface-associated transmembrane serine protease, has been reported in pancreatic, colorectal and thyroid cancers, and has been implicated in tumor cell migration and metastasis. Few reports have investigated both TMPRSS4 gene expression levels and the protein products. In this study, quantitative RT-PCR and protein staining were used to assess TMPRSS4 expression in primary non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) tissues and in lung tumor cell lines. At the transcriptional level, TMPRSS4 message was significantly elevated in the majority of human squamous cell and adenocarcinomas compared with normal lung tissues. Staining of over 100 NSCLC primary tumor and normal specimens with rabbit polyclonal anti-TMPRSS4 antibodies confirmed expression at the protein level in both squamous cell and adenocarcinomas with little or no staining in normal lung tissues. Human lung tumor cell lines expressed varying levels of TMPRSS4 mRNA in vitro. Interestingly, tumor cell lines with high levels of TMPRSS4 mRNA failed to show detectable TMPRSS4 protein by either immunoblotting or flow cytometry. However, protein levels were increased under hypoxic culture conditions suggesting that hypoxia within the tumor microenvironment may upregulate TMPRSS4 protein expression in vivo. This was supported by the observation of TMPRSS4 protein in xenograft tumors derived from the cell lines. In addition, staining of human squamous cell carcinoma samples for carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), a hypoxia marker, showed TMPRSS4 positive cells adjacent to CAIX positive cells. Overall, these results indicate that the cancer-associated TMPRSS4 protein is overexpressed in NSCLC and may represent a potential therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3582903  PMID: 22692880
TMPRSS4; lung cancer; carbonic anhydrase IX; hypoxia; serine protease
16.  Identification of a common variant in the TFR2 gene implicated in the physiological regulation of serum iron levels 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;20(6):1232-1240.
The genetic determinants of variation in iron status are actively sought, but remain incompletely understood. Meta-analysis of two genome-wide association (GWA) studies and replication in three independent cohorts was performed to identify genetic loci associated in the general population with serum levels of iron and markers of iron status, including transferrin, ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) and sTfR–ferritin index. We identified and replicated a novel association of a common variant in the type-2 transferrin receptor (TFR2) gene with iron levels, with effect sizes highly consistent across samples. In addition, we identified and replicated an association between the HFE locus and ferritin and confirmed previously reported associations with the TF, TMPRSS6 and HFE genes. The five replicated variants were tested for association with expression levels of the corresponding genes in a publicly available data set of human liver samples, and nominally statistically significant expression differences by genotype were observed for all genes, although only rs3811647 in the TF gene survived the Bonferroni correction for multiple testing. In addition, we measured for the first time the effects of the common variant in TMPRSS6, rs4820268, on hepcidin mRNA in peripheral blood (n = 83 individuals) and on hepcidin levels in urine (n = 529) and observed an association in the same direction, though only borderline significant. These functional findings require confirmation in further studies with larger sample sizes, but they suggest that common variants in TMPRSS6 could modify the hepcidin-iron feedback loop in clinically unaffected individuals, thus making them more susceptible to imbalances of iron homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3043660  PMID: 21208937
17.  Common variants in TMPRSS6 are associated with iron status and erythrocyte volume 
Nature genetics  2009;41(11):1173-1175.
We report a genome-wide association study to iron status. We identify an association of SNPs in TPMRSS6 to serum iron (rs855791, combined P = 1.5×10−20), transferrin saturation (combined P = 2.2×10−23), and erythrocyte mean cell volume (MCV, combined P = 1.1×10−10). We also find suggestive evidence of association with blood haemoglobin levels (combined P = 5.3×10−7). These findings demonstrate the involvement of TMPRSS6 in control of iron homeostasis and in normal erythropoiesis.
PMCID: PMC3135421  PMID: 19820699
18.  Iron-deficiency anemia from matriptase-2 inactivation is dependent on the presence of functional Bmp6 
Blood  2010;117(2):647-650.
Hepcidin is the master regulator of iron homeostasis. In the liver, iron-dependent hepcidin activation is regulated through Bmp6 and its membrane receptor hemojuvelin (Hjv) whereas, in response to iron deficiency, hepcidin repression seems to be controlled by a pathway involving the serine protease matriptase-2 (encoded by Tmprss6). To determine the relationship between Bmp6 and matriptase-2 pathways, Tmprss6−/− mice (characterized by increased hepcidin levels and anemia) and Bmp6−/− mice (exhibiting severe iron overload due to hepcidin deficiency) were intercrossed. We showed that loss of Bmp6 decreased hepcidin levels, increased hepatic iron and, importantly, corrected hematological abnormalities in Tmprss6−/− mice. This suggests that elevated hepcidin levels in patients with familial iron-refractory iron deficiency anemia are due to excess signaling through the Bmp6/Hjv pathway.
PMCID: PMC3302207  PMID: 20940420
Anemia, Iron-Deficiency; metabolism; Animals; Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides; metabolism; Bone Morphogenetic Protein 6; metabolism; Female; Iron; metabolism; Iron, Dietary; metabolism; Liver; metabolism; Membrane Proteins; metabolism; Mice; Mice, Knockout; Serine Endopeptidases; metabolism; Signal Transduction; physiology; hepcidin; hemojuvelin; bmp6; matriptase2; tmprss6
19.  The serine protease TMPRSS6 is required to sense iron deficiency 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2008;320(5879):1088-1092.
Hepcidin, a liver-derived protein that restricts enteric iron absorption, is the key regulator of body iron content. Several proteins induce expression of the hepcidin-encoding gene Hamp in response to infection or high levels of iron. However, mechanism(s) of Hamp suppression during iron depletion are poorly understood. Here we describe mask, a recessive, chemically induced mutant mouse phenotype, characterized by progressive loss of body but not facial hair and microcytic anemia. The mask phenotype results from reduced absorption of dietary iron caused by high levels of hepcidin, and is due to a splicing defect in the transmembrane serine protease 6 gene Tmprss6. Overexpression of normal TMPRSS6 protein suppresses activation of the Hamp promoter, and the TMPRSS6 cytoplasmic domain mediates Hamp suppression via proximal promoter element(s). TMPRSS6 is an essential component of a pathway that detects iron deficiency and blocks Hamp transcription, permitting enhanced dietary iron absorption.
PMCID: PMC2430097  PMID: 18451267
20.  Clinical significance of TMPRSS4 in prostate cancer 
Transmembrane protease serine 4 (TMPRSS4) is a type-II transmembrane serine protease that plays an important role in the migration of cancer cells. This study aimed to investigate both the expression of TMPRSS4 and its clinical significance in prostate cancer. The expression of TMPRSS4 was evaluated in 73 pairs of prostate cancer and adjacent non-cancerous tissues by immunohistochemistry. The level of TMPRSS4 in prostate cancer tissues was significantly higher than that in adjacent non-cancerous tissues. High TMPRSS4 expression was significantly associated with advanced TNM stage and LNM. No association between TMPRSS4 expression and progression-free survival was observed in all patients. Stratified analyses according to clinical features revealed that patients with low TMPRSS4 expression had poor prognosis compared with those with high TMPRSS4 expression in subjects not receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In conclusion, TMPRSS4 showed abnormal expression in prostate cancer tissues. TMPRSS4 may be a potential prognostic biomarker for prostate cancer patients who did not undergo neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4270561  PMID: 25550850
Transmembrane protease; serine 4; prostatic cancer; prognosis; biomarker; neoadjuvant chemotherapy
21.  Overexpression of TMPRSS4 in non-small cell lung cancer is associated with poor prognosis in patients with squamous histology 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;105(10):1608-1614.
Mortality rates in lung cancer patients have not decreased significantly in recent years, even with the implementation of new therapeutic regimens. One of the main problems is that a large proportion of patients present local or distant metastasis at the time of diagnosis. The need for identification of novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for a more effective management of lung cancer led us to investigate TMPRSS4, a protease reported to promote tumour growth and metastasis.
Material and methods:
In all, 34 lung cancer cell lines were used to evaluate the TMPRSS4 expression. Cell migration and clonogenic assays, and an in-vivo lung metastasis model were used for functional analysis of the TMPRSS4 downregulation in H358, H441 and H2170 cell lines. The TMPRSS4 expression analysis in normal and malignant lung tissue samples was performed by qPCR. Five different microarray-based publicly available expression databases were used to validate our results and to study prognosis.
The TMPRSS4 knock down in H358, H441 and H2170 cells resulted in a significant reduction in proliferation, clonogenic capacity and invasion. A significant (P<0.05) decrease in the lung colonisation and growth was found when mice were injected with TMPRSS4-depleated H358-derived clones, as compared with controls. Expression of TMPRSS4 showed a >30-fold increase (P<0.001) in tumours in comparison with non-malignant samples. Levels in tumours with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) histology were found to be significantly higher (P<0.001) than those with adenocarcinoma (AC) histology, which was confirmed in data retrieved from the microarrays. Kaplan–Meier curves demonstrated that high levels of TMPRSS4 were significantly associated (P=0.017) with reduced overall survival in the patients with SCC histology, whereas no correlation was found for the AC histology.
Our results demonstrate that TMPRSS4 has a role in the lung cancer development. The potential use of TMPRSS4 as a biomarker for lung cancer detection or as a predictor of patient's outcome warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3242532  PMID: 22067904
lung cancer; TMPRSS4; squamous cell carcinoma; serine protease
22.  Loss of the NKX3.1 tumorsuppressor promotes the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion gene expression in prostate cancer 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:16.
In normal prostate epithelium the TMPRSS2 gene encoding a type II serine protease is directly regulated by male hormones through the androgen receptor. In prostate cancer ERG protooncogene frequently gains hormonal control by seizing gene regulatory elements of TMPRSS2 through genomic fusion events. Although, the androgenic activation of TMPRSS2 gene has been established, little is known about other elements that may interact with TMPRSS2 promoter sequences to modulate ERG expression in TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion context.
Comparative genomic analyses of the TMPRSS2 promoter upstream sequences and pathway analyses were performed by the Genomatix Software. NKX3.1 and ERG genes expressions were evaluated by immunoblot or by quantitative Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR) assays in response to siRNA knockdown or heterologous expression. QRT-PCR assay was used for monitoring the gene expression levels of NKX3.1-regulated genes. Transcriptional regulatory function of NKX3.1 was assessed by luciferase assay. Recruitment of NKX3.1 to its cognate elements was monitored by Chromatin Immunoprecipitation assay.
Comparative analysis of the TMPRSS2 promoter upstream sequences among different species revealed the conservation of binding sites for the androgen inducible NKX3.1 tumor suppressor. Defects of NKX3.1, such as, allelic loss, haploinsufficiency, attenuated expression or decreased protein stability represent established pathways in prostate tumorigenesis. We found that NKX3.1 directly binds to TMPRSS2 upstream sequences and negatively regulates the expression of the ERG protooncogene through the TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion.
These observations imply that the frequently noted loss-of-function of NKX3.1 cooperates with the activation of TMPRSS2-ERG fusions in prostate tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3897978  PMID: 24418414
Tumor suppressor; NKX3.1; Prostate; ERG; NFкB; Oncogene
23.  A Genome-Wide Association Study of Red Blood Cell Traits Using the Electronic Medical Record 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e13011.
The Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is a potential source for high throughput phenotyping to conduct genome-wide association studies (GWAS), including those of medically relevant quantitative traits. We describe use of the Mayo Clinic EMR to conduct a GWAS of red blood cell (RBC) traits in a cohort of patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and controls without PAD.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Results for hemoglobin level, hematocrit, RBC count, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration were extracted from the EMR from January 1994 to September 2009. Out of 35,159 RBC trait values in 3,411 patients, we excluded 12,864 values in 1,165 patients that had been measured during hospitalization or in the setting of hematological disease, malignancy, or use of drugs that affect RBC traits, leaving a final genotyped sample of 3,012, 80% of whom had ≥2 measurements. The median of each RBC trait was used in the genetic analyses, which were conducted using an additive model that adjusted for age, sex, and PAD status. We identified four genomic loci that were associated (P<5×10−8) with one or more of the RBC traits (HBLS1/MYB on 6q23.3, TMPRSS6 on 22q12.3, HFE on 6p22.1, and SLC17A1 on 6p22.2). Three of these loci (HBLS1/MYB, TMPRSS6, and HFE) had been identified in recent GWAS and the allele frequencies, effect sizes, and the directions of effects of the replicated SNPs were similar to the prior studies.
Our results demonstrate feasibility of using the EMR to conduct high throughput genomic studies of medically relevant quantitative traits.
PMCID: PMC2946914  PMID: 20927387
24.  Androgen receptor and gene network: Micromechanics reassemble the signaling machinery of TMPRSS2-ERG positive prostate cancer cells 
Prostate cancer is a gland tumor in the male reproductive system. It is a multifaceted and genomically complex disease. Transmembrane protease, serine 2 and v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 homolog (TMPRSS2-ERG) gene fusions are the common molecular signature of prostate cancer. Although tremendous advances have been made in unraveling various facets of TMPRSS2-ERG-positive prostate cancer, many research findings must be sequentially collected and re-interpreted. It is important to understand the activation or repression of target genes and proteins in response to various stimuli and the assembly in signal transduction in TMPRSS2-ERG fusion-positive prostate cancer cells. Accordingly, we divide this multi-component review ofprostate cancer cells into several segments: 1) The role of TMPRSS2-ERG fusion in genomic instability and methylated regulation in prostate cancer and normal cells; 2) Signal transduction cascades in TMPRSS2-ERG fusion-positive prostate cancer; 3) Overexpressed genes in TMPRSS2-ERG fusion-positive prostate cancer cells; 4) miRNA mediated regulation of the androgen receptor (AR) and its associated protein network; 5) Quantitative control of ERG in prostate cancer cells; 6) TMPRSS2-ERG encoded protein targeting; In conclusion, we provide a detailed understanding of TMPRSS2-ERG fusion related information in prostate cancer development to provide a rationale for exploring TMPRSS2-ERG fusion-mediated molecular network machinery.
PMCID: PMC4002202  PMID: 24739220
25.  The Expression of TMPRSS4 and Erk1 Correlates with Metastasis and Poor Prognosis in Chinese Patients with Gastric Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70311.
The present study investigated the clinical significance of transmembrane protease, serine 4(TMPRSS4) and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 (Erk1) in the development, progression and metastasis of gastric cancer.
Immunohistochemistry was employed to analyze TMPRSS4 and Erk1 expression in 436 gastric cancer cases and 92 non-cancerous human gastric tissues.
Protein levels of TMPRSS4 and Erk1 were up-regulated in gastric cancer lesions compared with adjacent noncancerous tissues. High expression of TMPRSS4 correlated with age, size, Lauren’s classification, depth of invasion, lymph node and distant metastases, regional lymph node stage and TNM stage, and also with expression of Erk1. In stages I, II and III, the 5-year survival rate of patients with high TMPRSS4 expression was significantly lower than in patients with low expression. Further multivariate analysis suggests that up-regulation of TMPRSS4 and Erk1 were independent prognostic indicators for the disease, along with depth of invasion, lymph node and distant metastasis and TNM stage.
Expression of TMPRSS4 in gastric cancer is significantly associated with lymph node and distant metastasis, high Erk1 expression, and poor prognosis. TMPRSS4 and Erk1 proteins could be useful markers to predict tumor progression and prognosis of gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC3726424  PMID: 23922976

Results 1-25 (895259)