Hepcidin, the hepatic iron hormone, is the central regulator of iron homeostasis. Cyclic AMP-Responsive Element-Binding protein 3-like 3 (CREB3L3/CREB-H) is a liver homeostatic regulator of essential nutrients (i.e. glucose and lipids) and has been previously involved in hepcidin response to pathologic stress signals. Here, we asked whether CREB-H has also a physiologic role in iron homeostasis through hepcidin. To this end, we analyzed hepcidin gene expression and regulation in the liver of wild type and Creb3l3 knockout mice during early postnatal development, as a model of "physiologic" stressful condition. The effect of iron challenge in vivo and BMP6 stimulation in vitro have been also addressed. In addition, we investigated the BMP signaling pathway and hepcidin promoter activity following CREB3L3 silencing and hepcidin promoter mutation in HepG2 cells. Creb3l3 knockout suckling and young-adult mice showed a prominent serum and hepatic iron accumulation, respectively, due to impaired hepcidin mRNA expression which progressively returned to normal level in adult mice. Interestingly, upon iron challenge, while the upstream BMP/SMAD signaling pathway controlling hepcidin was equally responsive in both strains, hepcidin gene expression was impaired in knockout mice and more iron accumulated in the liver. Accordingly, hepcidin gene response to BMP6 was blunted in primary CREB-H knockout hepatocytes and in HepG2 cells transfected with CREB-H siRNA or carrying a hepcidin promoter mutated in the CREB-H binding site. In conclusion, CREB-H has a role in maintaining the homeostatic balance of iron traffic through hepcidin during the critical postnatal period and in response to iron challenge.Key messagesCREB-H KO mice develop liver iron overload shortly after weaning that normalizes in adulthood.CHEB-H is involved in hepcidin gene response to oral iron in vivo.CREB-H loss hampers hepcidin promoter response to BMP6.CREB-H is a key stress-sensor controlling hepcidin gene transcription in physiologic and pathophysiologic states.
CREB-H is a stress-regulator of hepcidin gene expression during early postnatal development / Vecchi, C.; Montosi, G.; Garuti, C.; Canali, S.; Sabelli, M.; Bergamini, E.; Ricci, A.; Buzzetti, E.; Corradini, E.; Pietrangelo, A.. - In: JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR MEDICINE. - ISSN 0946-2716. - (2023), pp. 1113-1124. [10.1007/s00109-023-02344-1]