Iron Regulatory Protein 1 (IRP1) is a bifunctional cytosolic iron sensor. When iron levels are normal, IRP1 harbours an iron-sulphur cluster (holo-IRP1), an enzyme with aconitase activity. When iron levels fall, IRP1 loses the cluster (apo-IRP1) and binds to iron-responsive elements (IREs) in messenger RNAs (mRNAs) encoding proteins involved in cellular iron uptake, distribution, and storage. Here we show that mutations in the Drosophila 1,4-Alpha-Glucan Branching Enzyme (AGBE) gene cause porphyria. AGBE was hitherto only linked to glycogen metabolism and a fatal human disorder known as glycogen storage disease type IV. AGBE binds specifically to holo-IRP1 and to mitoNEET, a protein capable of repairing IRP1 iron-sulphur clusters. This interaction ensures nuclear translocation of holo-IRP1 and downregulation of iron-dependent processes, demonstrating that holo-IRP1 functions not just as an aconitase, but throttles target gene expression in anticipation of declining iron requirements.