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. 2019 Dec;52:7-13.
doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2019.04.002. Epub 2019 May 11.

Connecting Iron Regulation and Mitochondrial Function in Cryptococcus Neoformans

Free PMC article

Connecting Iron Regulation and Mitochondrial Function in Cryptococcus Neoformans

Linda C Horianopoulos et al. Curr Opin Microbiol. .
Free PMC article


Iron acquisition is essential for the proliferation of microorganisms, and human pathogens such as the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans must use sophisticated uptake mechanisms to overcome host iron sequestration. Iron is of particular interest for C. neoformans because its availability is an important cue for the elaboration of virulence factors. In fungi, extracellular iron is taken up through high affinity, low affinity, siderophore-mediated, and heme uptake pathways, and the details of these mechanisms are under active investigation in C. neoformans. Following uptake, iron is transported to intracellular organelles including mitochondria where it is used in heme biosynthesis and the synthesis of iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster precursors. One Fe-S cluster binding protein of note is the monothiol glutaredoxin Grx4 which has emerged as a master regulator of iron sensing in C. neoformans and other fungi through its influence on the expression of proteins for iron uptake or use. The activity of Grx4 likely occurs through interactions with Fe-S clusters and transcription factors known to control expression of the iron-related functions. Although the extent to which Grx4 controls the iron regulatory network is still being investigated in C. neoformans, it is remarkable that it also influences the expression of many genes encoding mitochondrial functions. Coupled with recent studies linking mitochondrial morphology and electron transport to virulence factor elaboration, there is an emerging appreciation of mitochondria as central players in cryptococcal disease.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest Statement: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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