Heme biosynthesis and iron-sulfur cluster (ISC) biogenesis are two major mammalian metabolic pathways that require iron. It has long been known that these two pathways interconnect, but the previously described interactions do not fully explain why heme biosynthesis depends on intact ISC biogenesis. Herein we identify a previously unrecognized connection between these two pathways through our discovery that human aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD), which catalyzes the second step of heme biosynthesis, is an Fe-S protein. We find that several highly conserved cysteines and an Ala306-Phe307-Arg308 motif of human ALAD are important for [Fe4S4] cluster acquisition and coordination. The enzymatic activity of human ALAD is greatly reduced upon loss of its Fe-S cluster, which results in reduced heme biosynthesis in human cells. As ALAD provides an early Fe-S-dependent checkpoint in the heme biosynthetic pathway, our findings help explain why heme biosynthesis depends on intact ISC biogenesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy