Specialized function of yeast Isa1 and Isa2 proteins in the maturation of mitochondrial [4Fe-4S] proteins

Ulrich Mühlenhoff, Nadine Richter, Ophry Pines, Antonio J. Pierik, Roland Lill*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


Most eukaryotes contain iron-sulfur cluster (ISC) assembly proteins related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Isa1 and Isa2. We show here that Isa1 but not Isa2 can be functionally replaced by the bacterial relatives IscA, SufA, and ErpA. The specific function of these "A-type" ISC proteins within the framework of mitochondrial and bacterial Fe/S protein biogenesis is still unresolved. In a comprehensive in vivo analysis, we show that S. cerevisiae Isa1 and Isa2 form a complex that is required for maturation of mitochondrial [4Fe-4S] proteins, including aconitase and homoaconitase. In contrast, Isa1-Isa2 were dispensable for the generation of mitochondrial [2Fe-2S] proteins and cytosolic [4Fe-4S] proteins. Targeting of bacterial [2Fe-2S] and [4Fe-4S] ferredoxins to yeast mitochondria further supported this specificity. Isa1 and Isa2 proteins are shown to bind iron in vivo, yet the Isa1-Isa2-bound iron was not needed as a donor for de novo assembly of the [2Fe-2S] cluster on the general Fe/S scaffold proteins Isu1-Isu2. Upon depletion of the ISC assembly factor Iba57, which specifically interacts with Isa1 and Isa2, or in the absence of the major mitochondrial [4Fe-4S] protein aconitase, iron accumulated on the Isa proteins. These results suggest that the iron bound to the Isa proteins is required for the de novo synthesis of [4Fe-4S] clusters in mitochondria and for their insertion into apoproteins in a reaction mediated by Iba57. Taken together, these findings define Isa1, Isa2, and Iba57 as a specialized, late-acting ISC assembly subsystem that is specifically dedicated to the maturation of mitochondrial [4Fe-4S] proteins.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)41205-41216
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number48
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2011


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