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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Jul;1772(7):773-80. Epub 2007 Apr 10.

Hemin rescues adrenodoxin, heme a and cytochrome oxidase activity in frataxin-deficient oligodendroglioma cells.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Mutations in the frataxin gene cause neurodegeneration and demyelination in Friedreich's ataxia. We showed earlier that frataxin deficiency causes primary iron-sulfur cluster defects, and later causes defects in heme and cytochrome c hemoprotein levels. Iron-sulfur (Fe/S) clusters are required in two enzymes of heme biosynthesis in humans i.e. in ferrochelatase and adrenodoxin. However, decreases in ferrochelatase activity have not been observed in frataxin-deficient HeLa cells or patient lymphoblasts. We knocked down frataxin in oligodendroglioma cells using siRNA, which produced significant defects in the activity of the Fe/S cluster enzymes adrenodoxin and aconitase, the adrenodoxin product heme a, and cytochrome oxidase, for which heme a serves as a prosthetic group. Exogenous hemin produced a significant rescue of adrenodoxin, aconitase, heme a levels and cytochrome oxidase activity. Thus hemin rescues iron-sulfur cluster defects that are the result of frataxin-deficiency, perhaps as a consequence of increasing the pool of bioavailable iron, and thus should be more fully tested for beneficial effects in Friedreich's ataxia models.

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