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Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor T. Martin Embley FMedSci FRS
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Recent data suggest that frataxin plays a key role in eukaryote cellular iron metabolism, particularly in mitochondrial heme and iron-sulfur (FeS) cluster biosynthesis. We have now identified a frataxin homologue (T. vaginalis frataxin) from the human parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Instead of mitochondria, this unicellular eukaryote possesses hydrogenosomes, peculiar organelles that produce hydrogen but nevertheless share common ancestry with mitochondria. T. vaginalis frataxin contains conserved residues implicated in iron binding, and in silico, it is predicted to form a typical α-β sandwich motif. The short N-terminal extension of T. vaginalis frataxin resembles presequences that target proteins to hydrogenosomes, a prediction confirmed by the results of overexpression of T. vaginalis frataxin in T. vaginalis. When expressed in the mitochondria of a frataxin-deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain, T. vaginalis frataxin partially restored defects in heme and FeS cluster biosynthesis. Although components of heme synthesis or heme-containing proteins have not been found in T. vaginalis to date, T. vaginalis frataxin was also shown to interact with S. cerevisiae ferrochelatase by using a Biacore assay. The discovery of conserved iron-metabolizing pathways in mitochondria and hydrogenosomes provides additional evidence not only of their common evolutionary history, but also of the fundamental importance of this pathway for eukaryotes. Copyright © 2007, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Author(s): Dolezal P, Dancis A, Lesuisse E, Sutak R, Hrdy I, Embley TM, Tachezy J
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Eukaryotic Cell
ISSN (print): 1535-9778
ISSN (electronic): 1535-9786
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
PubMed id: 17573543
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