The solution structure of the the c-terminal domain of frataxin, the protein responsible for friedreich ataxia
[FRDA_HUMAN] Defects in FXN are the cause of Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) [MIM:229300]. FRDA is an autosomal recessive, progressive degenerative disease characterized by neurodegeneration and cardiomyopathy it is the most common inherited ataxia. The disorder is usually manifest before adolescence and is generally characterized by incoordination of limb movements, dysarthria, nystagmus, diminished or absent tendon reflexes, Babinski sign, impairment of position and vibratory senses, scoliosis, pes cavus, and hammer toe. In most patients, FRDA is due to GAA triplet repeat expansions in the first intron of the frataxin gene. But in some cases the disease is due to mutations in the coding region.[:][:]    [:] 
[FRDA_HUMAN] Promotes the biosynthesis of heme and assembly and repair of iron-sulfur clusters by delivering Fe(2+) to proteins involved in these pathways. May play a role in the protection against iron-catalyzed oxidative stress through its ability to catalyze the oxidation of Fe(2+) to Fe(3+); the oligomeric form but not the monomeric form has in vitro ferroxidase activity. May be able to store large amounts of iron in the form of a ferrihydrite mineral by oligomerization; however, the physiological relevance is unsure as reports are conflicting and the function has only been shown using heterologous overexpression systems. Modulates the RNA-binding activity of ACO1.        
Publication Abstract from PubMed
BACKGROUND: Lesions in the gene for frataxin, a nuclear-encoded mitochondrial protein, cause the recessively inherited condition Friedreich's ataxia. It is thought that the condition arises from disregulation of mitochondrial iron homeostasis, with concomitant oxidative damage leading to neuronal death. Very little is, as yet, known about the biochemical function of frataxin. RESULTS: Here, we show that the mature form of recombinant frataxin behaves in solution as a monodisperse species that is composed of a 15-residue-long unstructured N terminus and an evolutionarily conserved C-terminal region that is able to fold independently. The structure of the C-terminal domain consists of a stable seven-stranded antiparallel beta sheet packing against a pair of parallel helices. The structure is compact with neither grooves nor cavities, features that are typical of iron-binding modules. Exposed evolutionarily conserved residues cover a broad area and all cluster on the beta-sheet face of the structure, suggesting that this is a functionally important surface. The effect of two clinically occurring mutations on the fold was checked experimentally. When the mature protein was titrated with iron, no tendency to iron-binding or to aggregation was observed. CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge of the frataxin structure provides important guidelines as to the nature of the frataxin binding partner. The absence of all the features expected for an iron-binding activity, the large conserved area on its surface and lack of evidence for iron-binding activity strongly support an indirect involvement of frataxin in iron metabolism. The effects of point mutations associated with Friedreich's ataxia can be rationalised by knowledge of the structure and suggest possible models for the occurrence of the disease in compound heterozygous patients.
Towards a structural understanding of Friedreich's ataxia: the solution structure of frataxin.,Musco G, Stier G, Kolmerer B, Adinolfi S, Martin S, Frenkiel T, Gibson T, Pastore A Structure. 2000 Jul 15;8(7):695-707. PMID:10903947
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.