Iron is an essential nutrient that participates in many central life processes. We are interested in the mechanisms and regulation of iron distribution within tissues and subcellular compartments and the role of iron homeostasis in health and disease. This led us to study the physiology of subcellular iron distribution with special emphasis on trafficking of the iron storage protein ferritin and the specific activity of the two iron regulatory proteins (IRPs) in different cell types of a tissue.
Studying tissue iron distribution we found that ferritin secretion is part of an iron recycling circuit in the protected compartment of the testis where sperm development takes place and that the cell-specific expression of IRPs plays a central role in the regulation of iron homeostasis. The iron cycle that we identified in the testis is an example for dynamic iron distribution between cell-types of a tissue. How tissue iron distribution is regulated, how this regulation is impaired in disease, and how this impaired iron homeostasis affects the course of inflammation or infection, are questions that take us to many different tissues in the body and to the understanding how the balance of a nutrient level can participate in the control of health and disease.
Regulation of mammalian iron homeostasis, with emphasis on disruptions of the iron cycle during diseases including neurodegenerative diseases.