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A lipid-soluble iron chelator alters cell cycle regulatory protein binding in breast cancer cells compared to normal breast cells
Paula M. B. Pahl, Sara M. Reese and Lawrence D. Horwitz

The lipid-soluble iron chelator desferri-exochelin (D-Exo) causes reversible cell cycle arrest in normal human mammary epithelial cells (NHMEC) but triggers apoptotic cell death in human breast cancer cells. We studied the effects of iron chelation with D-Exo on cell cycle regulatory proteins in cultures of NHMEC and MCF-7 breast cancer cells. In co-immunoprecipitation studies, D-Exo inhibited binding of cyclins A and E to cyclin dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) in NHMEC, but in MCF-7 cells binding of these cyclins to CDK2 was enhanced. D-Exo treatment markedly increased expression of p53 and increased binding of p21 to CDK2 in the MCF-7 cells but not in NHMEC. Therefore differences in effects of iron chelation on cell cycle protein binding in cancer cells compared to normal cells may trigger apoptosis in cancer cells while normal breast cells are spared.

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