Strong correlation of ferrochelatase enzymatic activity with Mitoferrin-1 mRNA in lymphoblasts of patients with protoporphyria

Mol Genet Metab. 2019 Nov;128(3):391-395. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2018.10.005. Epub 2018 Oct 22.


Accumulation of protoporphyrin IX (PPIX) and Zn-PPIX, are the clinical hallmarks of protoporphyria. Phenotypic expression of protoporphyria is due to decreased activity of ferrochelatase (FECH) or to increased activity of aminolevulinic acid synthase (ALAS) in red blood cells. Other genetic defects have been shown to contribute to disease severity including loss of function mutations in the mitochondrial AAA-ATPase, CLPX and mutations in the Iron-responsive element binding protein 2 (IRP2), in mice. It is clear that multiple paths lead to a common phenotype of excess plasma PPIX that causes a phototoxic reaction on sun exposed areas. In this study we examined the association between mitochondrial iron acquisition and utilization with activity of FECH. Our data show that there is a metabolic link between the activity FECH and levels of MFRN1 mRNA. We examined the correlation between FECH activity and MFRN1 mRNA in cell lines established from patients with the classical protoporphyria, porphyria due to defects in ALAS2 mutations. Our data confirm MFRN1 message levels positively correlated with FECH enzymatic activity in all cell types.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Aminolevulinate Synthetase / genetics
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Ferrochelatase / analysis
  • Ferrochelatase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / enzymology*
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Protoporphyria, Erythropoietic / enzymology*
  • Protoporphyria, Erythropoietic / genetics*
  • Protoporphyrins / genetics
  • Protoporphyrins / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Protoporphyrins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Slc25a37 protein, human
  • protoporphyrin IX
  • 5-Aminolevulinate Synthetase
  • ALAS2 protein, human
  • Ferrochelatase