Iron-Sulfur Protein Assembly in Human Cells

Part of the Reviews of Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology book series (REVIEWS, volume 174)


Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters serve as a fundamental inorganic constituent of living cells ranging from bacteria to human. The importance of Fe-S clusters is underscored by their requirement as a co-factor for the functioning of different enzymes and proteins. The biogenesis of Fe-S cluster is a highly coordinated process which requires specialized cellular machinery. Presently, understanding of Fe-S cluster biogenesis in human draws meticulous attention since defects in the biogenesis process result in development of multiple diseases with unresolved solutions. Mitochondrion is the major cellular compartment of Fe-S cluster biogenesis, although cytosolic biogenesis machinery has been reported in eukaryotes, including in human. The core biogenesis pathway comprises two steps. The process initiates with the assembly of Fe-S cluster on a platform scaffold protein in the presence of iron and sulfur donor proteins. Subsequent process is the transfer and maturation of the cluster to a bonafide target protein. Human Fe-S cluster biogenesis machinery comprises the mitochondrial iron-sulfur cluster (ISC) assembly and export system along with the cytosolic Fe-S cluster assembly (CIA) machinery. Impairment in the Fe-S cluster machinery components results in cellular dysfunction leading to various mitochondrial pathophysiological consequences. The current review highlights recent developments and understanding in the domain of Fe-S cluster assembly biology in higher eukaryotes, particularly in human cells.


Chaperones Fe-S biogenesis Iron-sulfur clusters Iron-transfer Mitochondria 



We express our sincere gratitude to the members of our group for the critical reading and review of the manuscript. We greatly acknowledge Department of Science and Technology for Swarnajayanthi fellowship (Grant ID: DST/SJF/LSA-01/2011–2012), DBT-IISc partnership programme (Grant ID: DBT/BF/PR/INS/2011-12/IISc), DST-FIST programme (Grant ID: SR/FST/LSII-544 023/2009), and UGC-CAS SAP-II programme (Grant ID: UGC LT. No. F. 5-2/2012. SAP-II) to P.D.S. We also acknowledge CSIR-India for SRF to P.P.S and K.B. We apologize to all colleagues and fellow researchers of the related domain whose original work could not be discussed or cited owing to length limitations.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryIndian Institute of ScienceBengaluruIndia

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