Differential localization of divalent metal transporter 1 with and without iron response element in rat PC12 and sympathetic neuronal cells

J. A. Roth*, C. Horbinski, L. Feng, K. G. Dolan, D. Higgins, M. D. Garrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Two isoforms of divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) (Nramp2 and DCT1) are encoded by two mRNA species, one of which contains an iron response element (IRE) motif in the 3'-noncoding region. The subcellular distribution of the two isoforms of DMT1 is distinct, and the -IRE species accumulates in the nucleus of neuronal or neuronal-like cells. Reverse transcription-PCR and Western blot analysis of PC12 cells reveals that these cells express both forms of DMT1. Immunofluorescence and immunoblotting studies, using immunospecific antibodies to the -IRE form of DMT1, demonstrate that this form of the transporter, in PC12 cells, is predominantly localized in the nucleus, cell membrane, and neurites with only weak staining of the cell body. Studies using antibodies to the +IRE form indicate that this species of DMT1 is distributed within vesicles in the cell body and neurite projections, with minimal nuclear staining. Similar staining patterns are observed for the two forms of DMT1 in cultures of sympathetic ganglion neurons isolated from perinatal rat pups. To determine whether nuclear localization of the -IRE form of DMT1 is constrained to neuronal or neuronal-like cells, immunocytochemical studies were performed with human embryonic kidney 293T (HEK293T), HEP2G hepatoma and medulloblastoma, and rat Schwann cells. The -IRE-specific antibodies stained nuclei from medulloblastoma, whereas little nuclear staining was observed with HEK293T, hepatoma, or Schwann cells. The unexpected finding that the -IRE species of DMT1 selectively accumulates in the nucleus of neuronal and neuronallike cells leads us to postulate that the two proteins may have different functions in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7595-7601
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2000


  • DMT1
  • Divalent metal transporter 1
  • HEK293T cells
  • Iron transport
  • Nramp2
  • Nuclear localization
  • PC12 cells
  • Sympathetic neurons
  • Transferrin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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