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

Heike Lange, Anita Kaut, Gyula Kispal, Roland Lill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

225 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1050-1055
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2000


  • ATP-binding cassette transporter
  • Iron homeostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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