PEBP1 Wardens Ferroptosis by Enabling Lipoxygenase Generation of Lipid Death Signals

Cell. 2017 Oct 19;171(3):628-641.e26. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.09.044.


Ferroptosis is a form of programmed cell death that is pathogenic to several acute and chronic diseases and executed via oxygenation of polyunsaturated phosphatidylethanolamines (PE) by 15-lipoxygenases (15-LO) that normally use free polyunsaturated fatty acids as substrates. Mechanisms of the altered 15-LO substrate specificity are enigmatic. We sought a common ferroptosis regulator for 15LO. We discovered that PEBP1, a scaffold protein inhibitor of protein kinase cascades, complexes with two 15LO isoforms, 15LO1 and 15LO2, and changes their substrate competence to generate hydroperoxy-PE. Inadequate reduction of hydroperoxy-PE due to insufficiency or dysfunction of a selenoperoxidase, GPX4, leads to ferroptosis. We demonstrated the importance of PEBP1-dependent regulatory mechanisms of ferroptotic death in airway epithelial cells in asthma, kidney epithelial cells in renal failure, and cortical and hippocampal neurons in brain trauma. As master regulators of ferroptotic cell death with profound implications for human disease, PEBP1/15LO complexes represent a new target for drug discovery.

Keywords: GPX4; PEBP1/15LO complex; acute kidney injury; asthma; brain trauma; cell death; ferroptosis; ferrostatin-1; phosphatidylethanolamine oxidation; redox phospholipidomics.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / metabolism
  • Acute Kidney Injury / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Asthma / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / metabolism
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / pathology*
  • Cell Death* / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Lipoxygenase / chemistry
  • Lipoxygenase / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Oxazolidinones / pharmacology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine Binding Protein / chemistry
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine Binding Protein / metabolism*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Oxazolidinones
  • PEBP1 protein, human
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine Binding Protein
  • Raf kinase inhibitory protein, mouse
  • locostatin
  • Lipoxygenase