Cardiolipin (CL) is the signature phospholipid of mitochondrial membranes, where it is synthesized locally and plays a critical role in mitochondrial bioenergetic functions. The importance of CL in human health is underscored by the observation that perturbation of CL biosynthesis causes the severe genetic disorder Barth syndrome. To fully understand the cellular response to the loss of CL, we carried out genome-wide expression profiling of the yeast CL mutant crd1?. Our results show that the loss of CL in this mutant leads to increased expression of iron uptake genes accompanied by elevated levels of mitochondrial iron and increased sensitivity to iron and hydrogen peroxide. Previous studies have shown that increased mitochondrial iron levels result from perturbations in iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster biogenesis. Consistent with an Fe-S defect, deletion of ISU1, one of two ISU genes that encode the mitochondrial Fe-S scaffolding protein essential for the synthesis of Fe-S clusters, led to synthetic growth defects with the crd1? mutant. We further show that crd1? cells have reduced activities of mitochondrial Fe-S enzymes (aconitase, succinate dehydrogenase, and ubiquinol-cytochrome c oxidoreductase), as well as cytosolic Fe-S enzymes (sulfite reductase and isopropylmalate isomerase). Increased expression of ATM1 or YAP1 did not rescue the Fe-S defects in crd1?. These findings show for the first time that CL is required for Fe-S biogenesis to maintain mitochondrial and cellular iron homeostasis.
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