King's College London

Research portal

Haem and folate transport by proton-coupled folate transporter/haem carrier protein 1 (SLC46A1)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150 - 1156
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009

King's Authors


  • BBC News story about HCP1

    Impact: Health Impacts


Haem carrier protein 1 (HCP1) was originally identified and characterised as a mammalian haem transporter. However, recent evidence has shown that it is also a proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT) and mutations in the gene cause hereditary folate deficiency in humans. We therefore investigated haem and folate transport characteristics of PCFT/HCP1 both in vivo and in vitro in CD-1 mice and in the presence or absence of a blocking antibody for PCFT/HCP1, and also in cultured cells (which express PCFT/HCP1 endogenously) to elucidate the specificity and selectivity of PCFT/HCP1. The in vivo study showed that the addition of folic acid inhibited 59Fe-labelled haem transport in hypoxic mice but had no effect in normal mice. Using in vitro methods, the results showed increased [3H]folate uptake into everted duodenum from hypoxic mice but uptake was reduced by the addition of haem or PCFT/HCP1 antibodies to the medium. Caco-2 cells transiently transfected with small interfering RNA (siRNA) PCFT/HCP1 duplex oligos resulted in a 69 % reduction in PCFT/HCP1 mRNA when compared with the control siRNA. Both haem and folate uptake were significantly (P <0.05) reduced in cells transfected with PCFT/HCP1 siRNA; however, the magnitude of reduction with folic acid uptake was greater (48 %) than that of haem (22.5 %). Overall the data support PCFT/HCP1 as a primary folate transporter with a lower affinity for haem. PCFT/HCP1 could therefore play a physiological role in Fe nutrition and the data highlight the potential for the interaction of folate and haem at the level of intestinal absorption.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454