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1.  Quercetin Inhibits Intestinal Iron Absorption and Ferroportin Transporter Expression In Vivo and In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102900.
Balancing systemic iron levels within narrow limits is critical for maintaining human health. There are no known pathways to eliminate excess iron from the body and therefore iron homeostasis is maintained by modifying dietary absorption so that it matches daily obligatory losses. Several dietary factors can modify iron absorption. Polyphenols are plentiful in human diet and many compounds, including quercetin – the most abundant dietary polyphenol – are potent iron chelators. The aim of this study was to investigate the acute and longer-term effects of quercetin on intestinal iron metabolism. Acute exposure of rat duodenal mucosa to quercetin increased apical iron uptake but decreased subsequent basolateral iron efflux into the circulation. Quercetin binds iron between its 3-hydroxyl and 4-carbonyl groups and methylation of the 3-hydroxyl group negated both the increase in apical uptake and the inhibition of basolateral iron release, suggesting that the acute effects of quercetin on iron transport were due to iron chelation. In longer-term studies, rats were administered quercetin by a single gavage and iron transporter expression measured 18 h later. Duodenal FPN expression was decreased in quercetin-treated rats. This effect was recapitulated in Caco-2 cells exposed to quercetin for 18 h. Reporter assays in Caco-2 cells indicated that repression of FPN by quercetin was not a transcriptional event but might be mediated by miRNA interaction with the FPN 3′UTR. Our study highlights a novel mechanism for the regulation of iron bioavailability by dietary polyphenols. Potentially, diets rich in polyphenols might be beneficial for patients groups at risk of iron loading by limiting the rate of intestinal iron absorption.
PMCID: PMC4109952  PMID: 25058155
2.  The role of iron in the skin and cutaneous wound healing 
In this review article we discuss current knowledge about iron in the skin and the cutaneous wound healing process. Iron plays a key role in both oxidative stress and photo-induced skin damage. The main causes of oxidative stress in the skin include reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated in the skin by ultraviolet (UVA) 320–400 nm portion of the UVA spectrum and biologically available iron. We also discuss the relationships between iron deficiency, anemia and cutaneous wound healing. Studies looking at this fall into two distinct groups. Early studies investigated the effect of anemia on wound healing using a variety of experimental methodology to establish anemia or iron deficiency and focused on wound-strength rather than effect on macroscopic healing or re-epithelialization. More recent animal studies have investigated novel treatments aimed at correcting the effects of systemic iron deficiency and localized iron overload. Iron overload is associated with local cutaneous iron deposition, which has numerous deleterious effects in chronic venous disease and hereditary hemochromatosis. Iron plays a key role in chronic ulceration and conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Lupus Erythematosus are associated with both anemia of chronic disease and dysregulation of local cutaneous iron hemostasis. Iron is a potential therapeutic target in the skin by application of topical iron chelators and novel pharmacological agents, and in delayed cutaneous wound healing by treatment of iron deficiency or underlying systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4091310  PMID: 25071575
iron; skin; wound-healing; ultraviolet; iron chelating agents
3.  Interaction between Soluble and Membrane-Embedded Potassium Channel Peptides Monitored by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49070.
Recent studies have explored the utility of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) in dynamic monitoring of soluble protein-protein interactions. Here, we investigated the applicability of FTIR to detect interaction between synthetic soluble and phospholipid-embedded peptides corresponding to, respectively, a voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channel inactivation domain (ID) and S4–S6 of the Shaker Kv channel (KV1; including the S4–S5 linker “pre-inactivation” ID binding site). KV1 was predominantly α-helical at 30°C when incorporated into dimyristoyl-l-α-phosphatidylcholine (DMPC) bilayers. Cooling to induce a shift in DMPC from liquid crystalline to gel phase reversibly decreased KV1 helicity, and was previously shown to partially extrude a synthetic S4 peptide. While no interaction was detected in liquid crystalline DMPC, upon cooling to induce the DMPC gel phase a reversible amide I peak (1633 cm−1) consistent with novel hydrogen bond formation was detected. This spectral shift was not observed for KV1 in the absence of ID (or vice versa), nor when the non-inactivating mutant V7E ID was applied to KV1 under similar conditions. Alteration of salt or redox conditions affected KV1-ID hydrogen bonding in a manner suggesting electrostatic KV1-ID interaction favored by a hairpin conformation for the ID and requiring extrusion of one or more KV1 domains from DMPC, consistent with ID binding to S4–S5. These findings support the utility of FTIR in detecting reversible interactions between soluble and membrane-embedded proteins, with lipid state-sensitivity of the conformation of the latter facilitating control of the interaction.
PMCID: PMC3493504  PMID: 23145073
4.  Genome-wide association study identifies variants in TMPRSS6 associated with hemoglobin levels 
Nature genetics  2009;41(11):1170-1172.
We carried out a genome-wide association study of hemoglobin levels in 16,001 individuals of European and Indian Asian ancestry. The most closely associated SNP (rs855791) results in nonsynonymous (V736A) change in the serine protease domain of TMPRSS6 and a blood hemoglobin concentration 0.13 (95% CI 0.09–0.17) g/dl lower per copy of allele A (P = 1.6 × 10−13). Our findings suggest that TMPRSS6, a regulator of hepcidin synthesis and iron handling, is crucial in hemoglobin level maintenance.
PMCID: PMC3178047  PMID: 19820698

Results 1-4 (4)