The Natural resistance-associated macrophage protein 1 (Nramp1 or Solute carrier 11 member 1, Slc11a1) transports divalent metals across the membrane of late endosomes and lysosomes in professional phagocytes. Nramp1 represents an ancient eukaryotic cell-autonomous defense whereas the gene duplication that yielded Nramp1
predated the origin of Sarcopterygians (lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods). SLC11A1
genetic polymorphisms associated with human resistance to tuberculosis consist of potential regulatory variants. Herein, current knowledge of the regulation of SLC11A1
gene expression is reviewed and comprehensive analysis of ENCODE data available for hematopoietic cell-types suggests a hypothesis for the regulation of SLC11A1
expression during myeloid development and phagocyte functional polarization. SLC11A1
is part of a 34.6 kb CTCF-insulated locus scattered with predicted regulatory elements: a 3' enhancer, a large 5' enhancer domain and four elements spread around the transcription start site (TSS), including several C/EBP and PU.1 sites. SLC11A1
locus ends appear mobilized by ETS-related factors early during myelopoiesis; activation of both 5' and 3' enhancers in myelo-monocytic cells correlate with transcription factor binding at the TSS. Characterizing the corresponding cis
determinants functionally will establish the mechanisms involved and possibly reveal genetic variation that impacts susceptibility to infectious or immune diseases.