Lipoic acid synthesis and attachment in yeast mitochondria

Melissa S. Schonauer, Alexander J. Kastaniotis, V. A.Samuli Kursu, J. Kalervo Hiltunen, Carol L. Dieckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Lipoic acid is a sulfur-containing cofactor required for the function of several multienzyme complexes involved in the oxidative decarboxylation of α-keto acids and glycine. Mechanistic details of lipoic acid metabolism are unclear in eukaryotes, despite two well defined pathways for synthesis and covalent attachment of lipoic acid in prokaryotes. We report here the involvement of four genes in the synthesis and attachment of lipoic acid in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. LIP2 and LIP5 are required for lipoylation of all three mitochondrial target proteins: Lat1 and Kgd2, the respective E2 subunits of pyruvate dehydrogenase and α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, and Gcv3, the H protein of the glycine cleavage enzyme. LIP3, which encodes a lipoate-protein ligase homolog, is necessary for lipoylation of Lat1 and Kgd2, and the enzymatic activity of Lip3 is essential for this function. Finally, GCV3, encoding the H protein target of lipoylation, is itself absolutely required for lipoylation of Lat1 and Kgd2. We show that lipoylated Gcv3, and not glycine cleavage activity per se, is responsible for this function. Demonstration that a target of lipoylation is required for lipoylation is a novel result. Through analysis of the role of these genes in protein lipoylation, we conclude that only one pathway for de novo synthesis and attachment of lipoic acid exists in yeast. We propose a model for protein lipoylation in which Lip2, Lip3, Lip5, and Gcv3 function in a complex, which may be regulated by the availability of acetyl-CoA, and which in turn may regulate mitochondrial gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23234-23242
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 28 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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