Deficiency of iron‑sulfur (FeS) clusters promotes metabolic rewiring of the endothelium and the development of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in vivo. Joining a growing number of FeS biogenesis proteins critical to pulmonary endothelial function, recent data highlighted that frataxin (FXN) reduction drives Fe-S-dependent genotoxic stress and senescence across multiple types of pulmonary vascular disease. Trinucleotide repeat mutations in the FXN gene cause Friedreich's ataxia, a disease characterized by cardiomyopathy and neurodegeneration. These tissue-specific phenotypes have historically been attributed to mitochondrial reprogramming and oxidative stress. Whether FXN coordinates both nuclear and mitochondrial processes in the endothelium is unknown. Here, the authors aim to identify the mitochondria-specific effects of FXN deficiency in the endothelium that predispose to pulmonary hypertension. These data highlight an Fe-S-driven metabolic shift separate from previously described replication stress whereby FXN knockdown diminished mitochondrial respiration and increased glycolysis and oxidative species production. In turn, FXN-deficient endothelial cells had increased vasoconstrictor production (EDN1) and decreased nitric oxide synthase expression (NOS3). These data were observed in primary pulmonary endothelial cells after pharmacologic inhibition of FXN, mice carrying a genetic endothelial deletion of FXN, and inducible pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells from patients with FXN mutations. Altogether, this study indicates FXN is an upstream driver of pathologic aberrations in metabolism and genomic stability. Moreover, this study highlights FXN-specific vasoconstriction in vivo, prompting future studies to investigate available and novel PH therapies in contexts of FXN deficiency.

Read More Here