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A mitochondrial ferredoxin is essential for biogenesis of cellular iron-sulfur proteins

  • Heike Lange
  • Anita Kaut
  • Gyula Kispal
  • Roland Lill
The National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2000
  • Biology


Iron-sulfur (Fe/S) cluster-containing proteins catalyze a number of electron transfer and metabolic reactions. The components and molecular mechanisms involved in the assembly of the Fe/S clusters have been identified only partially. In eukaryotes, mitochondria have been proposed to execute a crucial task in the generation of intramitochondrial and extramitochondrial Fe/S proteins. Herein, we identify the essential ferredoxin Yah1p of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondria as a central component of the Fe/S protein biosynthesis machinery. Depletion of Yah1p by regulated gene expression resulted in a 30-fold accumulation of iron within mitochondria, similar to what has been reported for other components involved in Fe/S protein biogenesis. Yah1p was shown to be required for the assembly of Fe/S proteins both inside mitochondria and in the cytosol. Apparently, at least one of the steps of Fe/S cluster biogenesis within mitochondria requires reduction by ferredoxin. Our findings lend support to the idea of a primary function of mitochondria in the biosynthesis of Fe/S proteins outside the organelle. To our knowledge, Yah1p is the first member of the ferredoxin family for which a function in Fe/S cluster formation has been established. A similar role may be predicted for the bacterial homologs that are encoded within iron-sulfur cluster assembly (isc) operons of prokaryotes.

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