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Hephaestin is a single-pass type I membrane protein that belongs to the multicopper oxidase family of proteins. Hephaestin, a copper-dependant ferroxidase protein, is crucial for iron exiting intestinal enterocytes into the circulation. It mediates the movement of iron across the basolateral membrane in conjunction with ferroportin 1. This is an important link between iron and copper metabolism in mammalian systems, as copper deficiency leads to reduced hephaestin and reduced iron absorption resulting in anemia. Hephaestin can bind six copper ions per monomer and is regulated by the homeobox transcription factor CDX2. Increased levels of iron leads to an increase in CDX2 expression and thus Hephaestin. Hephaestin is primarily detected in the intestine, but is also expressed in colon, breast, bone trabecural cells and fibroblasts.
Subcellular location: Extracellular