Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters are ancient enzyme cofactors found in virtually all life forms. We evaluated the physiological effects of chronic Fe-S cluster deficiency in human skeletal muscle, a tissue that relies heavily on Fe-S cluster-mediated aerobic energy metabolism. Despite greatly decreased oxidative capacity, muscle tissuefrom patients deficient inthe Fe-S cluster scaffoldproteinISCUshowedapredominance of type I oxidative muscle fibers and higher capillary density, enhanced expression of transcriptional co-activator PGC-1α and increased mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation genes. These Fe-S cluster-deficient muscles showed a dramatic up-regulation of the ketogenic enzyme HMGCS2 and the secreted protein FGF21 (fibroblast growth factor 21). Enhanced muscle FGF21 expression was reflected by elevated circulating FGF21 levels in the patients, and robust FGF21 secretion could be recapitulated by respiratory chain inhibition in cultured myotubes. Our findings reveal that mitochondrial energy starvation elicits a coordinated response in Fe-S-deficient skeletal muscle that is reflected systemically by increased plasma FGF21 levels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology