Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters are essential cofactors, and mitochondria contain several Fe-S proteins, including the [4Fe-4S] protein aconitase and the [2Fe-2S] protein ferredoxin. Fe-S cluster assembly of these proteins occurs within mitochondria. Although considerable data exist for yeast mitochondria, this biosynthetic process has never been directly demonstrated in mammalian mitochondria. Using [35S]cysteine as the source of sulfur, here we show that mitochondria isolated from Cath.A-derived cells, a murine neuronal cell line, can synthesize and insert new Fe-35S clusters into aconitase and ferredoxins. The process requires GTP, NADH, ATP, and iron, and hydrolysis of bothGTPandATPis necessary. Importantly, we have identified the 35S-labeled persulfide on the NFS1 cysteine desulfurase as a genuine intermediate en route to Fe-S cluster synthesis. In physiological settings, the persulfide sulfur is released from NFS1 and transferred to a scaffold protein, where it combines with iron to form an Fe-S cluster intermediate. We found that the release of persulfide sulfur from NFS1 requires iron, showing that the use of iron and sulfur for the synthesis of Fe-S cluster intermediates is a highly coordinated process. The release of persulfide sulfur also requires GTP and NADH, probably mediated by a GTPase and a reductase, respectively. ATP, a cofactor for a multifunctional Hsp70 chaperone, is not required at this step. The experimental system described here may help to define the biochemical basis of diseases that are associated with impaired Fe-S cluster biogenesis in mitochondria, such as Friedreich ataxia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology