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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2006 Sep-Oct;41(5):269-91.

The structure and function of frataxin.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Frataxin, a highly conserved protein found in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, is required for efficient regulation of cellular iron homeostasis. Humans with a frataxin deficiency have the cardio- and neurodegenerative disorder Friedreich's ataxia, commonly resulting from a GAA trinucleotide repeat expansion in the frataxin gene. While frataxin's specific function remains a point of controversy, the general consensus is that the protein assists in controlling cellular iron homeostasis by directly binding iron. This review focuses on the structural and biochemical aspects of iron binding by the frataxin orthologs and outlines molecular attributes that may help explain the protein's role in different cellular pathways.

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