Nutrient-Deprivation Autophagy Factor-1 (NAF-1): Biochemical Properties of a Novel Cellular Target for Anti-Diabetic Drugs

Sagi Tamir, John A. Zuris, Lily Agranat, Colin H. Lipper, Andrea R. Conlan, Dorit Michaeli, Yael Harir, Mark L. Paddock, Ron Mittler, Zvi Ioav Cabantchik, Patricia A. Jennings, Rachel Nechushtai

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43 Scopus citations


Nutrient-deprivation autophagy factor-1 (NAF-1) (synonyms: Cisd2, Eris, Miner1, and Noxp70) is a [2Fe-2S] cluster protein immune-detected both in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondrial outer membrane. It was implicated in human pathology (Wolfram Syndrome 2) and in BCL-2 mediated antagonization of Beclin 1-dependent autophagy and depression of ER calcium stores. To gain insights about NAF-1 functions, we investigated the biochemical properties of its 2Fe-2S cluster and sensitivity of those properties to small molecules. The structure of the soluble domain of NAF-1 shows that it forms a homodimer with each protomer containing a [2Fe-2S] cluster bound by 3 Cys and one His. NAF-1 has shown the unusual abilities to transfer its 2Fe-2S cluster to an apo-acceptor protein (followed in vitro by spectrophotometry and by native PAGE electrophoresis) and to transfer iron to intact mitochondria in cell models (monitored by fluorescence imaging with iron fluorescent sensors targeted to mitochondria). Importantly, the drug pioglitazone abrogates NAF-1's ability to transfer the cluster to acceptor proteins and iron to mitochondria. Similar effects were found for the anti-diabetes and longevity-promoting antioxidant resveratrol. These results reveal NAF-1 as a previously unidentified cell target of anti-diabetes thiazolidinedione drugs like pioglitazone and of the natural product resveratrol, both of which interact with the protein and stabilize its labile [2Fe-2S] cluster.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere61202
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - 22 May 2013


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