Ferredoxins are a family of iron–sulfur (Fe-S) cluster proteins that serve as essential electron donors in numerous cellular processes that are conserved through evolution. The promiscuous nature of ferredoxins as electron donors enables them to participate in many metabolic processes including steroid, heme, vitamin D, and Fe-S cluster biosynthesis in different organisms. However, the unique natural function(s) of each of the two human ferredoxins (FDX1 and FDX2) are still poorly characterized. We recently reported that FDX1 is both a crucial regulator of copper ionophore-induced cell death and serves as an upstream regulator of cellular protein lipoylation, a mitochondrial lipid-based post-translational modification naturally occurring on four mitochondrial enzymes that are crucial for TCA cycle function. Here we show that FDX1 directly regulates protein lipoylation by binding the lipoyl synthase (LIAS) enzyme promoting its functional binding to the lipoyl carrier protein GCSH and not through indirect regulation of cellular Fe-S cluster biosynthesis. Metabolite profiling revealed that the predominant cellular metabolic outcome of FDX1 loss of function is manifested through the regulation of the four lipoylation-dependent enzymes ultimately resulting in loss of cellular respiration and sensitivity to mild glucose starvation. Transcriptional profiling established that FDX1 loss-of-function results in the induction of both compensatory metabolism-related genes and the integrated stress response, consistent with our findings that FDX1 loss-of-function is conditionally lethal. Together, our findings establish that FDX1 directly engages with LIAS, promoting its role in cellular protein lipoylation, a process essential in maintaining cell viability under low glucose conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology