Frataxin functions in the biogenesis of iron-sulfur clusters, which are prosthetic groups that are found in proteins involved in many biological processes. To study the changes associated with decreased frataxin in human cardiomyocytes, the authors developed a novel isogenic model by acutely knocking down frataxin, post-differentiation, in cardiomyocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. Transcriptome analysis of four biological replicates identified severe mitochondrial dysfunction and a type I interferon response as the pathways most affected by frataxin knockdown. In iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes, loss of frataxin leads to mitochondrial dysfunction. The type I interferon response was activated in multiple cell types following acute frataxin knockdown and was caused, at least in part, by release of mitochondrial DNA into the cytosol, activating the cGAS-STING sensor pathway.
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