IscA is a key member of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly machinery in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms; however, the physiological function of IscA still remains elusive. Here we report the in vivo evidence demonstrating the iron binding activity of IscA in Escherichia coli cells. Supplement of exogenous iron (1μM) in the M9 minimal medium is sufficient to maximize the iron binding in IscA expressed in E. coli cells under aerobic growth conditions. In contrast, IscU, an iron-sulfur cluster assembly scaffold protein, or CyaY, a bacterial frataxin homologue, fails to bind any iron in E. coli cells under the same experimental conditions. Interestingly, the strong iron binding activity of IscA is greatly diminished in E. coli cells under anaerobic growth conditions. Additional studies reveal that oxygen in medium promotes the iron binding in IscA and that the iron binding in IscA in turn prevents formation of biologically inaccessible ferric hydroxide under aerobic conditions. Consistent with the differential iron binding activity of IscA under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, we find that IscA and its paralog SufA are essential for the iron-sulfur cluster assembly in E. coli cells under aerobic growth conditions but not under anaerobic growth conditions. The results provide the in vivo evidence that IscA may act as an iron chaperone for the biogenesis of iron-sulfur clusters in E. coli cells under aerobic conditions.
Iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis; human IscA homologue; intracellular iron content
Escherichia coli contains at least two iron storage proteins, a ferritin (FtnA) and a bacterioferritin (Bfr). To investigate their specific functions, the corresponding genes (ftnA and bfr) were inactivated by replacing the chromosomal ftnA and bfr genes with disrupted derivatives containing antibiotic resistance cassettes in place of internal segments of the corresponding coding regions. Single mutants (ftnA::spc and bfr::kan) and a double mutant (ftnA::spc bfr::kan) were generated and confirmed by Western and Southern blot analyses. The iron contents of the parental strain (W3110) and the bfr mutant increased by 1.5- to 2-fold during the transition from logarithmic to stationary phase in iron-rich media, whereas the iron contents of the ftnA and ftnA bfr mutants remained unchanged. The ftnA and ftnA bfr mutants were growth impaired in iron-deficient media, but this was apparent only after the mutant and parental strains had been precultured in iron-rich media. Surprisingly, ferric iron uptake regulation (fur) mutants also had very low iron contents (2.5-fold less iron than Fur+ strains) despite constitutive expression of the iron acquisition systems. The iron deficiencies of the ftnA and fur mutants were confirmed by Mössbauer spectroscopy, which further showed that the low iron contents of ftnA mutants are due to a lack of magnetically ordered ferric iron clusters likely to correspond to FtnA iron cores. In combination with the fur mutation, ftnA and bfr mutations produced an enhanced sensitivity to hydroperoxides, presumably due to an increase in production of “reactive ferrous iron.” It is concluded that FtnA acts as an iron store accommodating up to 50% of the cellular iron during postexponential growth in iron-rich media and providing a source of iron that partially compensates for iron deficiency during iron-restricted growth. In addition to repressing the iron acquisition systems, Fur appears to regulate the demand for iron, probably by controlling the expression of iron-containing proteins. The role of Bfr remains unclear.
A human homologue of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly protein IscA (hIscA1) has been cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli cells. The UV-visible absorption and EPR (electron paramagnetic resonance) measurements reveal that hIscA1 purified from E. coli cells contains a mononuclear iron center and that the iron binding in hIscA1 expressed in E. coli cells can be further modulated by the iron content in the cell growth medium. Additional studies show that purified hIscA1 binds iron with an iron association constant of approx. 2.0 × 1019 M−1, and that the iron-bound hIscA1 is able to provide the iron for the iron-sulfur cluster assembly in a proposed scaffold protein IscU of E. coli in vitro. The complementation experiments indicate that hIscA1 can partially substitute for IscA in restoring the cell growth of E. coli in the M9 minimal medium under aerobic conditions. The results suggest that human IscA1, like E. coli IscA, is an iron binding protein that may act as an iron chaperone for biogenesis of iron-sulfur clusters.
Iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis; human IscA homologue; intracellular iron content
Protein-bound dinitrosyl iron complexes (DNICs) have been observed in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells under nitric oxide (NO) stress. The identity of proteins that bind DNICs, however, still remains elusive. Here we demonstrate that iron-sulfur proteins are the major source of protein-bound DNICs formed in Escherichia coli cells under NO stress. Expression of recombinant iron-sulfur proteins, but not the proteins without iron-sulfur clusters, almost doubles the amount of protein-bound DNICs formed in E. coli cells after NO exposure. Purification of recombinant proteins from the NO-exposed E. coli cells further confirms that iron-sulfur proteins, but not the proteins without iron-sulfur clusters, are modified forming protein-bound DINCs. Deletion of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly proteins IscA and SufA to block the [4Fe-4S] cluster biogenesis in E. coli cells largely eliminates the NO-mediated formation of protein-bound DNICs, suggesting that iron-sulfur clusters are mainly responsible for the NO-mediated formation of protein-bound DNICs in cells. Furthermore, depletion of “chelatable iron pool” in the wild-type E. coli cells effectively removes iron-sulfur clusters from proteins and concomitantly diminishes the NO-mediated formation of protein-bound DNICs, indicating that iron-sulfur clusters in proteins constitute at least part of “chelatable iron pool” in cells.
nitric oxide; iron-sulfur clusters; chelatable iron pool; dinitrosyl iron complex
Escherichia coli [2Fe-2S]-ferredoxin
(Fdx) is encoded by the isc operon along with other
proteins involved in the ‘house-keeping’ mechanism of
iron–sulfur cluster biogenesis. Although it has been proposed
that Fdx supplies electrons to reduce sulfane sulfur (S0) produced by the cysteine desulfurase (IscS) to sulfide (S2–) as required for the assembly of Fe–S clusters on the scaffold
protein (IscU), direct experimental evidence for the role of Fdx has
been lacking. Here, we show that Fdx (in either oxidation state) interacts
directly with IscS. The interaction face on Fdx was found to include
residues close to its Fe–S cluster. In addition, C328 of IscS,
the residue known to pick up sulfur from the active site of IscS and
deliver it to the Cys residues of IscU, formed a disulfide bridge
with Fdx in the presence of an oxidizing agent. Electrons from reduced
Fdx were transferred to IscS only in the presence of l-cysteine,
but not to the C328S variant. We found that Fdx, IscU, and CyaY (the
bacterial frataxin) compete for overlapping binding sites on IscS.
This mutual exclusion explains the mechanism by which CyaY inhibits
Fe–S cluster biogenesis. These results (1) show that reduced
Fdx supplies one electron to the IscS complex as S0 is
produced by the enzymatic conversion of Cys to Ala and (2) explain
the role of Fdx as a member of the isc operon.
During infection, the phytopathogenic enterobacterium Erwinia chrysanthemi has to cope with iron-limiting conditions and the production of reactive oxygen species by plant cells. Previous studies have shown that a tight control of the bacterial intracellular iron content is necessary for full virulence. The E. chrysanthemi genome possesses two loci that could be devoted to iron storage: the bfr gene, encoding a heme-containing bacterioferritin, and the ftnA gene, coding for a paradigmatic ferritin. To assess the role of these proteins in the physiology of this pathogen, we constructed ferritin-deficient mutants by reverse genetics. Unlike the bfr mutant, the ftnA mutant had increased sensitivity to iron deficiency and to redox stress conditions. Interestingly, the bfr ftnA mutant displayed an intermediate phenotype for sensitivity to these stresses. Whole-cell analysis by Mössbauer spectroscopy showed that the main iron storage protein is FtnA and that there is an increase in the ferrous iron/ferric iron ratio in the ftnA and bfr ftnA mutants. We found that ftnA gene expression is positively controlled by iron and the transcriptional repressor Fur via the small antisense RNA RyhB. bfr gene expression is induced at the stationary phase of growth. The σS transcriptional factor is necessary for this control. Pathogenicity tests showed that FtnA and the Bfr contribute differentially to the virulence of E. chrysanthemi depending on the host, indicating the importance of a perfect control of iron homeostasis in this bacterial species during infection.
IscA/SufA paralogs are the members of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly machinery in Escherichia coli. While deletion of either IscA or SufA has only a mild effect on cell growth, deletion of both IscA and SufA results in a null-growth phenotype in minimal medium under aerobic growth conditions. Here we report that cell growth of the iscA/sufA double mutant (E. coli strain in which both iscA and sufA had been in-frame-deleted) can be partially restored by supplementing with BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) and thiamin. We further demonstrate that deletion of IscA/SufA paralogs blocks the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly in IlvD (dihydroxyacid dehydratase) of the BCAA biosynthesis pathway in E. coli cells under aerobic conditions and that addition of the iron-bound IscA/SufA efficiently promotes the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly in IlvD and restores the enzyme activity in vitro, suggesting that IscA/SufA may act as an iron donor for the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly under aerobic conditions. Additional studies reveal that IscA/SufA are also required for the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly in protein ThiC of the thiamin biosynthesis pathway, aconitase B of the citrate acid cycle, and endonuclease III of the DNA base excision repair pathway in E. coli under aerobic conditions. Nevertheless, deletion of IscA/SufA does not significantly affect the [2Fe-2S] cluster assembly in the redox transcription factor SoxR, ferredoxin, and the siderophore-iron reductase FhuF. The results suggest that the biogenesis of the [4Fe-4S] clusters and the [2Fe-2S] clusters may have distinct pathways and that IscA/SufA paralogs are essential for the [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly, but are dispensable for the [2Fe-2S] cluster assembly in E. coli under aerobic conditions.
aconitase; branched-chain amino acids; dihydroxyacid dehydratase; iron-sulfur clusters; IscA/SufA paralogs; thiamin
IscU is a scaffold protein that functions in iron-sulfur cluster assembly and transfer. Its critical importance has been recently underscored by the finding that a single intronic mutation in the human iscu gene is associated with a myopathy resulting from deficient succinate dehydrogenase and aconitase [Mochel, F., Knight, M. A., Tong, W. H., Hernandez, D., Ayyad, K., Taivassalo, T., Andersen, P. M., Singleton, A., Rouault, T. A., Fischbeck, K. H., and Haller, R. G. (2008) Am. J. Hum. Genet. 82, 652–660]. IscU functions through interactions with a chaperone protein HscA and a cochaperone protein HscB. To probe the molecular basis for these interactions, we have used NMR spectroscopy to investigate the solution structure of IscU from Escherichia coli and its interaction with HscB from the same organism. We found that wild-type apo-IscU in solution exists as two distinct conformations: one largely disordered and one largely ordered except for the metal binding residues. The two states interconvert on the millisecond time scale. The ordered conformation is stabilized by the addition of zinc or by the single site IscU mutation, D39A. We used apo-IscU(D39A) as a surrogate for the folded state of wild-type IscU and assigned its NMR spectrum. These assignments made it possible to identify the region of IscU with the largest structural differences in the two conformational states. Subsequently, by following the NMR signals of apo-IscU(D39A) upon addition of HscB, we identified the most perturbed regions as the two N-terminal β-strands and the C-terminal α-helix. On the basis of these results and analysis of IscU sequences from multiple species, we have identified the surface region of IscU that interacts with HscB. We conclude that the IscU:HscB complex exists as two (or more) distinct states that interconvert at a rate much faster than the dissociation of the complex and that HscB binds to and stabilizes the ordered state of apo-IscU.
The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains two homologues of bacterial IscA proteins, designated Isa1p and Isa2p. Bacterial IscA is a product of the isc (iron-sulfur cluster) operon and has been suggested to participate in Fe-S cluster formation or repair. To test the function of yeast Isa1p and Isa2p, single or combinatorial disruptions were introduced in ISA1 and ISA2. The resultant isaΔ mutants were viable but exhibited a dependency on lysine and glutamate for growth and a respiratory deficiency due to an accumulation of mutations in mitochondrial DNA. As with other yeast genes proposed to function in Fe-S cluster assembly, mitochondrial iron concentration was significantly elevated in the isa mutants, and the activities of the Fe-S cluster-containing enzymes aconitase and succinate dehydrogenase were dramatically reduced. An inspection of Isa-like proteins from bacteria to mammals revealed three invariant cysteine residues, which in the case of Isa1p and Isa2p are essential for function and may be involved in iron binding. As predicted, Isa1p is targeted to the mitochondrial matrix. However, Isa2p is present within the intermembrane space of the mitochondria. Our deletion analyses revealed that Isa2p harbors a bipartite N-terminal leader sequence containing a mitochondrial import signal linked to a second sequence that targets Isa2p to the intermembrane space. Both signals are needed for Isa2p function. A model for the nonredundant roles of Isa1p and Isa2p in delivering iron to sites of the Fe-S cluster assembly is discussed.
Crystal structures reveal how distinct sites on the cysteine desulfurase IscS bind two different sulfur-acceptor proteins, IscU and TusA, to transfer sulfur atoms for iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis and tRNA thiolation.
The cysteine desulfurase IscS is a highly conserved master enzyme initiating sulfur transfer via persulfide to a range of acceptor proteins involved in Fe-S cluster assembly, tRNA modifications, and sulfur-containing cofactor biosynthesis. Several IscS-interacting partners including IscU, a scaffold for Fe-S cluster assembly; TusA, the first member of a sulfur relay leading to sulfur incorporation into the wobble uridine of several tRNAs; ThiI, involved in tRNA modification and thiamine biosynthesis; and rhodanese RhdA are sulfur acceptors. Other proteins, such as CyaY/frataxin and IscX, also bind to IscS, but their functional roles are not directly related to sulfur transfer. We have determined the crystal structures of IscS-IscU and IscS-TusA complexes providing the first insight into their different modes of binding and the mechanism of sulfur transfer. Exhaustive mutational analysis of the IscS surface allowed us to map the binding sites of various partner proteins and to determine the functional and biochemical role of selected IscS and TusA residues. IscS interacts with its partners through an extensive surface area centered on the active site Cys328. The structures indicate that the acceptor proteins approach Cys328 from different directions and suggest that the conformational plasticity of a long loop containing this cysteine is essential for the ability of IscS to transfer sulfur to multiple acceptor proteins. The sulfur acceptors can only bind to IscS one at a time, while frataxin and IscX can form a ternary complex with IscU and IscS. Our data support the role of frataxin as an iron donor for IscU to form the Fe-S clusters.
Sulfur is incorporated into the backbone of almost all proteins in the form of the amino acids cysteine and methionine. In some proteins, sulfur is also present as iron–sulfur clusters, sulfur-containing vitamins, and cofactors. What's more, sulfur is important in the structure of tRNAs, which are crucial for translation of the genetic code from messenger RNA for protein synthesis. The biosynthetic pathways for assembly of these sulfur-containing molecules are generally well known, but the molecular details of how sulfur is delivered from protein to protein are less well understood. In bacteria, one of three pathways for sulfur delivery is the isc (iron-sulfur clusters) system. First, an enzyme called IscS extracts sulfur atoms from cysteine. This versatile enzyme can then interact with several proteins to deliver sulfur to various pathways that make iron–sulfur clusters or transfer sulfur to cofactors and tRNAs. This study describes in atomic detail precisely how IscS binds in a specific and yet distinct way to two different proteins: IscU (a scaffold protein for iron–sulfur cluster formation) and TusA (which delivers sulfur for tRNA modification). Furthermore, by introducing mutations into IscS, we have identified the region on the surface of this protein that is involved in binding its target proteins. These findings provide a molecular view of the protein–protein interactions involved in sulfur transfer and advance our understanding of how sulfur is delivered from one protein to another during biosynthesis of iron–sulfur clusters.
Iron sulfur (Fe-S) clusters are versatile biological cofactors that require biosynthetic systems in vivo to be assembled. In Escherichia coli the Isc (iscRSUA-hscBA-fdx-iscX) and the Suf (sufABCDSE) pathways fulfill this function. Despite extensive biochemical and genetic analysis of both pathways, the physiological function of the A-type proteins of each pathway (IscA and SufA) is still unclear. Studies conducted in vitro suggest two possible functions for A-type proteins, as Fe-S scaffold/transfer proteins or as iron donors during cluster assembly. To resolve this issue, SufA was co-expressed in vivo with its cognate partner proteins from the suf operon, SufBCDSE. Native SufA purified anaerobically using this approach was unambiguously demonstrated to be a [2Fe-2S] protein by biochemical analysis and UV-Visible, Mössbauer, resonance Raman, and EPR spectroscopy. Furthermore, native [2Fe-2S] SufA can transfer its Fe-S cluster to both [2Fe-2S] and [4Fe-4S] apoproteins. These results clearly show that A-type proteins form Fe-S clusters in vivo and are competent to function as Fe-S transfer proteins as purified. This study resolves the contradictory results from previous in vitro studies and demonstrates the critical importance of providing in vivo partner proteins during protein over-expression to allow correct biochemical maturation of metalloproteins.
Iron-sulfur; Suf; Biosynthesis; Mösbbauer; A-type protein; Scaffold; Transfer; Ferredoxin; Aconitase
During anaerobic growth Escherichia coli synthesizes two membrane-associated hydrogen-oxidizing [NiFe]-hydrogenases, termed hydrogenase 1 and hydrogenase 2. Each enzyme comprises a catalytic subunit containing the [NiFe] cofactor, an electron-transferring small subunit with a particular complement of [Fe-S] (iron-sulfur) clusters and a membrane-anchor subunit. How the [Fe-S] clusters are delivered to the small subunit of these enzymes is unclear. A-type carrier (ATC) proteins of the Isc (iron-sulfur-cluster) and Suf (sulfur mobilization) [Fe-S] cluster biogenesis pathways are proposed to traffic pre-formed [Fe-S] clusters to apoprotein targets. Mutants that could not synthesize SufA had active hydrogenase 1 and hydrogenase 2 enzymes, thus demonstrating that the Suf machinery is not required for hydrogenase maturation. In contrast, mutants devoid of the IscA, ErpA or IscU proteins of the Isc machinery had no detectable hydrogenase 1 or 2 activities. Lack of activity of both enzymes correlated with the absence of the respective [Fe-S]-cluster-containing small subunit, which was apparently rapidly degraded. During biosynthesis the hydrogenase large subunits receive their [NiFe] cofactor from the Hyp maturation machinery. Subsequent to cofactor insertion a specific C-terminal processing step occurs before association of the large subunit with the small subunit. This processing step is independent of small subunit maturation. Using western blotting experiments it could be shown that although the amount of each hydrogenase large subunit was strongly reduced in the iscA and erpA mutants, some maturation of the large subunit still occurred. Moreover, in contrast to the situation in Isc-proficient strains, these processed large subunits were not membrane-associated. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that both IscA and ErpA are required for [Fe-S] cluster delivery to the small subunits of the hydrogen-oxidizing hydrogenases; however, delivery of the Fe atom to the active site might have different requirements.
The highly-conserved protein, IscU, serves as the scaffold for iron-sulfur cluster assembly in the ISC system common to bacteria and eukaryotic mitochondria. The apo-form of IscU from Escherichia coli has been shown to populate two slowly interconverting conformational states: one structured (S) and one dynamically disordered (D). Furthermore, single-site amino acid substitutions have been shown to shift the equilibrium between the metamorphic states. Here, we report three-dimensional structural models derived from NMR spectroscopy for the S-state of wild-type (WT) apo-IscU, determined under conditions where the protein was 80% in the S-state and 20% in the D-state, and for the S-state of apo-IscU(D39A), determined under conditions where the protein was ~ 95% in the S-state. We have used these structures in interpreting the effects of single site amino acid substitutions that alter %S = (100×[S])/([S]+[D]). These include different residues at the same site, %S: D39V > D39L > D39A > D39G ≈ WT, and alanine substitutions at different sites, %S: N90A > S107A≈E111A > WT. Hydrophobic residues at residue 39 appear to stabilize the S-state by decreasing the flexibility of the loops that contain the conserved cysteine residues. The alanine substitutions at positions 90, 107, and 111, on the other hand stabilize the protein without affecting the loop dynamics. In general, the stability of the S-state correlates with the compactness and thermal stability of the variant.
conformational equilibrium; effects of single amino acid substitutions; solution structure determination; dynamics; NMR
The Escherichia coli Fur protein, with its iron(II) cofactor, represses iron assimilation and manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) genes, thus coupling iron metabolism to protection against oxygen toxicity. Iron assimilation is triggered by iron starvation in wild-type cells and is constitutive in fur mutants. We show that iron metabolism deregulation in fur mutants produces an iron overload, leading to oxidative stress and DNA damage including lethal and mutagenic lesions. fur recA mutants were not viable under aerobic conditions and died after a shift from anaerobiosis to aerobiosis. Reduction of the intracellular iron concentration by an iron chelator (ferrozine), by inhibition of ferric iron transport (tonB mutants), or by overexpression of the iron storage ferritin H-like (FTN) protein eliminated oxygen sensitivity. Hydroxyl radical scavengers dimethyl sulfoxide and thiourea also provided protection. Functional recombinational repair was necessary for protection, but SOS induction was not involved. Oxygen-dependent spontaneous mutagenesis was significantly increased in fur mutants. Similarly, SOD deficiency rendered sodA sodB recA mutants nonviable under aerobic conditions. Lethality was suppressed by tonB mutations but not by iron chelation or overexpression of FTN. Thus, superoxide-mediated iron reduction was responsible for oxygen sensitivity. Furthermore, overexpression of SOD partially protected fur recA mutants. We propose that a transient iron overload, which could potentially generate oxidative stress, occurs in wild-type cells on return to normal growth conditions following iron starvation, with the coupling between iron and MnSOD regulation helping the cells cope.
Frataxin, a conserved nuclear encoded mitochondrial protein, plays a direct role in iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis within the ISC assembly pathway. Humans with frataxin deficiency have Friedreich’s ataxia, a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by mitochondrial iron overload and disruption in Fe-S cluster synthesis. Biochemical and genetic studies have shown frataxin interacts with the iron-sulfur cluster assembly scaffold protein (in yeast, there are two: Isu1 and Isu2), indicating frataxin plays a direct role in cluster assembly, possibly by serving as an iron chaperone n the assembly pathway. Here we provide molecular details of how yeast frataxin (Yfh1) interacts with Isu1 as a structural module to better understand the multiprotein complex assembly that completes Fe-S cluster assembly; this complex also includes the cysteine desulfurase (Nfs1 in yeast) and the accessory protein (Isd11), together in the mitochondria. Thermodynamic binding parameters for protein partner and iron binding were measured for the yeast orthologs using isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC). Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to provide the molecular details to understand how Yfh1 interacts with Isu1. X-ray absorption studies were used to electronically and structurally characterize how iron is transferred to Isu1 and then incorporated into a Fe-S cluster. These results were combined with previously published data to generate a structural model for how the Fe-S cluster protein assembly complex can come together to accomplish Fe-S cluster assembly.
Iron Chaperone; Frataxin; Yfh1; Isu1; Nfs1; NMR; ITC and Iron-Sulfur Cluster Assembly
Iron−sulfur (Fe−S) proteins contain prosthetic groups consisting of two or more iron atoms bridged by sulfur ligands, which facilitate multiple functions, including redox activity, enzymatic function, and maintenance of structural integrity. More than 20 proteins are involved in the biosynthesis of iron−sulfur clusters in eukaryotes. Defective Fe−S cluster synthesis not only affects activities of many iron−sulfur enzymes, such as aconitase and succinate dehydrogenase, but also alters the regulation of cellular iron homeostasis, causing both mitochondrial iron overload and cytosolic iron deficiency. In this work, we review human Fe−S cluster biogenesis and human diseases that are caused by defective Fe−S cluster biogenesis. Fe−S cluster biogenesis takes place essentially in every tissue of humans, and products of human disease genes, including frataxin, GLRX5, ISCU, and ABCB7, have important roles in the process. However, the human diseases, Friedreich ataxia, glutaredoxin 5-deficient sideroblastic anemia, ISCU myopathy, and ABCB7 sideroblastic anemia/ataxia syndrome, affect specific tissues, while sparing others. Here we discuss the phenotypes caused by mutations in these different disease genes, and we compare the underlying pathophysiology and discuss the possible explanations for tissue-specific pathology in these diseases caused by defective Fe−S cluster biogenesis.
Environmental H2O2 creates several injuries in Escherichia coli, including the oxidative conversion of dehydratase [4Fe-4S] clusters to an inactive [3Fe-4S] form. To protect itself, H2O2-stressed E. coli activates the OxyR regulon. This regulon includes the suf operon, which encodes an alternative to the housekeeping Isc iron-sulfur-cluster assembly system. Previously studied [3Fe-4S] clusters are repaired by an Isc/Suf-independent pathway, so the rationale for Suf induction was not obvious. Using strains that cannot scavenge H2O2, we imposed chronic low-grade stress and found that suf mutants could not maintain the activity of isopropylmalate isomerase, a key iron-sulfur dehydratase. Experiments showed that its damaged cluster was degraded in vivo beyond the [3Fe-4S] state, presumably to an apoprotein form, and thus required a de novo assembly system for reactivation. Surprisingly, sub-micromolar H2O2 poisoned the Isc machinery, thereby creating a requirement for Suf both to repair the isomerase and to activate nascent Fe-S enzymes in general. The IscS and IscA components of the Isc system are H2O2-resistant, suggesting that oxidants disrupt Isc by oxidizing clusters as they are assembled on or transferred from the IscU scaffold. Consistent with these results, organisms that are routinely exposed to oxidants rely upon Suf rather than Isc for cluster assembly.
Iron-sulfur clusters; the Suf system; the Isc system; and oxidative stress
A-type carrier (ATC) proteins of the Isc (iron-sulfur cluster) and Suf (sulfur mobilization) iron-sulfur ([Fe-S]) cluster biogenesis pathways are proposed to traffic preformed [Fe-S] clusters to apoprotein targets. In this study, we analyzed the roles of the ATC proteins ErpA, IscA, and SufA in the maturation of the nitrate-inducible, multisubunit anaerobic respiratory enzymes formate dehydrogenase N (Fdh-N) and nitrate reductase (Nar). Mutants lacking SufA had enhanced activities of both enzymes. While both Fdh-N and Nar activities were strongly reduced in an iscA mutant, both enzymes were inactive in an erpA mutant and in a mutant unable to synthesize the [Fe-S] cluster scaffold protein IscU. It could be shown for both Fdh-N and Nar that loss of enzyme activity correlated with absence of the [Fe-S] cluster-containing small subunit. Moreover, a slowly migrating form of the catalytic subunit FdnG of Fdh-N was observed, consistent with impeded twin arginine translocation (TAT)-dependent transport. The highly related Fdh-O enzyme was also inactive in the erpA mutant. Although the Nar enzyme has its catalytic subunit NarG localized in the cytoplasm, it also exhibited aberrant migration in an erpA iscA mutant, suggesting that these modular enzymes lack catalytic integrity due to impaired cofactor biosynthesis. Cross-complementation experiments demonstrated that multicopy IscA could partially compensate for lack of ErpA with respect to Fdh-N activity but not Nar activity. These findings suggest that ErpA and IscA have overlapping roles in assembly of these anaerobic respiratory enzymes but demonstrate that ErpA is essential for the production of active enzymes.
Background: The bacterial Isc operon contains a ferredoxin whose precise role is unknown and a desulfurase enzyme.
Results: We have structurally characterized the complex of Escherichia coli ferredoxin with the desulfurase IscS.
Conclusion: We show that ferredoxin occupies a groove close to the active site.
Significance: Our results shed light into the mechanism of iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis.
The bacterial iron-sulfur cluster (isc) operon is an essential machine that is highly conserved from bacteria to primates and responsible for iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis. Among its components are the genes for the desulfurase IscS that provides sulfur for cluster formation, and a specialized ferredoxin (Fdx) whose role is still unknown. Preliminary evidence suggests that IscS and Fdx interact but nothing is known about the binding site and the role of the interaction. Here, we have characterized the interaction using a combination of biophysical tools and mutagenesis. By modeling the Fdx·IscS complex based on experimental restraints we show that Fdx competes for the binding site of CyaY, the bacterial ortholog of frataxin and sits in a cavity close to the enzyme active site. By in vivo mutagenesis in bacteria we prove the importance of the surface of interaction for cluster formation. Our data provide the first structural insights into the role of Fdx in cluster assembly.
Biophysics; Computer Modeling; Iron Metabolism; Iron-Sulfur Protein; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; Protein Structure
In the bacterial ISC system for iron–sulfur cluster
IscU acts as a primary scaffold protein, and the molecular co-chaperones
HscA and HscB specifically interact with IscU to facilitate ATP-driven
cluster transfer. In this work, cluster transfer from Azotobacter
vinelandii [Fe2S2]2+ cluster-bound
IscU to apo-Grx5, a general purpose monothiol glutaredoxin in A. vinelandii, was monitored by circular dichroism spectroscopy,
in the absence and in the presence of HscA/HscB/Mg-ATP. The results
indicate a 700-fold enhancement in the rate of [Fe2S2]2+ cluster transfer in the presence of the co-chaperones
and Mg-ATP, yielding a second-order rate constant of 20 000
M–1 min–1 at 23 °C. Thus,
HscA and HscB are required for efficient ATP-dependent [Fe2S2]2+ cluster transfer from IscU to Grx5. The
results support a role for monothiol Grx’s in storing and transporting
[Fe2S2]2+ clusters assembled on IscU
and illustrate the limitations of interpreting in vitro cluster transfer studies involving [Fe2S2]-IscU
in the absence of the dedicated HscA/HscB co-chaperone system.
Friedreich's ataxia is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by mutations in the frataxin gene that produces a predominantly mitochondrial protein whose primary function appears to be mitochondrial iron–sulfur cluster (ISC) biosynthesis. Previously we demonstrated that frataxin interacts with multiple components of the mammalian ISC assembly machinery. Here we demonstrate that frataxin interacts with the mammalian mitochondrial chaperone HSC20. We show that this interaction is iron-dependent. We also show that like frataxin, HSC20 interacts with multiple proteins involved in ISC biogenesis including the ISCU/Nfs1 ISC biogenesis complex and the GRP75 ISC chaperone. Furthermore, knockdown of HSC20 caused functional defects in activity of mitochondrial ISC-containing enzymes and also defects in ISC protein expression. Alterations up or down of frataxin expression caused compensatory changes in HSC20 expression inversely, as expected of two cooperating proteins operating in the same pathway and suggesting a potential therapeutic strategy for the disease. Knockdown of HSC20 altered cytosolic and mitochondrial iron pools and increased the expression of transferrin receptor 1 and iron regulatory protein 2 consistent with decreased iron bioavailability. These results indicate that HSC20 interacts with frataxin structurally and functionally and is important for ISC biogenesis and iron homeostasis in mammals. Furthermore, they suggest that HSC20 may act late in the ISC pathway as a chaperone in ISC delivery to apoproteins and that HSC20 should be included in multi-protein complex studies of mammalian ISC biogenesis.
Protein controlled iron homeostasis is essential for maintaining appropriate levels and availability of metal within cells. Recently, two iron chaperones have been discovered that direct metal within two unique pathways: (1) mitochondrial iron–sulfur (Fe–S) cluster assembly and (2) within the ferritin iron storage system. Although structural and functional details describing how these iron chaperones operate are emerging, both share similar iron binding affinities and metal–ligand site structures that enable them to bind and release Fe2+ to specific protein partners. Molecular details related to iron binding and delivery by these chaperones will be explored within this review.
Lack of molybdenum cofactor (Moco) in Escherichia coli leads to hypersensitivity to the mutagenic and toxic effects of N-hydroxylated base analogs, such as 6-N-hydroxylaminopurine (HAP). This phenotype is due to the loss of two Moco-dependent activities, YcbX and YiiM, that are capable of reducing HAP to adenine. Here, we describe two novel HAP-sensitive mutants containing a defect in iscS or tusA (yhhP) gene. IscS is a major L-cysteine desulfurase involved in iron–sulfur cluster synthesis, thiamine synthesis, and tRNA thiomodification. TusA is a small sulfur-carrier protein that interacts with IscS. We show that both IscS and TusA operate within the Moco-dependent pathway. Like other Moco-deficient strains, tusA and iscS mutants are HAP sensitive and resistant to chlorate under anaerobic conditions. The base-analog sensitivity of iscS or tusA strains could be suppressed by supplying exogenous L-cysteine or sulfide or by an increase in endogenous sulfur donors (cysB constitutive mutant). The data suggest that iscS and tusA mutants have a defect in the mobilization of sulfur required for active YcbX/YiiM proteins as well as nitrate reductase, presumably due to lack of functional Moco. Overall, our data imply a novel and indispensable role of the IscS/TusA complex in the activity of several molybdoenzymes.
6-N-hydroxylaminopurine (HAP) sensitivity; chlorate resistance; IscS cysteine desulfurase; molybdenum cofactor (Moco) biosynthesis; TusA sulfur-carrier protein.
Background: Iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis involves a scaffold protein (ISCU), cysteine desulfurase (NFS1), chaperone (mtHSP70), and co-chaperone (HSC20).
Results: Human mitochondrial ISCU populates structured (S) and disordered (D) conformational states. S interacts preferentially with NFS1 and mtHSP70; D interacts preferentially with HSC20.
Conclusion: Shifts in the S ⇄ D equilibrium reveal functional states.
Significance: The scaffold protein metamorphic property seen in Escherichia coli is conserved in humans.
Human ISCU is the scaffold protein for mitochondrial iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster biogenesis and transfer. NMR spectra have revealed that ISCU populates two conformational states; that is, a more structured state (S) and a partially disordered state (D). We identified two single amino acid substitutions (D39V and N90A) that stabilize the S-state and two (D39A and H105A) that stabilize the D-state. We isolated the two constituent proteins of the human cysteine desulfurase complex (NFS1 and ISD11) separately and used NMR spectroscopy to investigate their interaction with ISCU. We found that ISD11 does not interact directly with ISCU. By contrast, NFS1 binds preferentially to the D-state of ISCU as does the NFS1-ISD11 complex. An in vitro Fe-S cluster assembly assay showed that [2Fe-2S] and [4Fe-4S] clusters are assembled on ISCU when catalyzed by NFS1 alone and at a higher rate when catalyzed by the NFS1-ISD11 complex. The DnaK-type chaperone (mtHSP70) and DnaJ-type co-chaperone (HSC20) are involved in the transfer of clusters bound to ISCU to acceptor proteins in an ATP-dependent reaction. We found that the ATPase activity of mtHSP70 is accelerated by HSC20 and further accelerated by HSC20 plus ISCU. NMR studies have shown that mtHSP70 binds preferentially to the D-state of ISCU and that HSC20 binds preferentially to the S-state of ISCU.
ATPases; Chaperone Chaperonin; Enzyme Catalysis; Mitochondria; NMR; Protein Conformation; Protein-Protein Interactions; Scaffold Proteins; Spectroscopy
Repression of mitochondrial respiration represents an evolutionarily ancient cellular adaptation to hypoxia and profoundly influences cell survival and function; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms are incompletely understood. Primarily utilizing pulmonary arterial endothelial cells as a representative hypoxic cell type, we identify the iron-sulfur cluster assembly proteins (ISCU1/2) as direct targets for repression by the hypoxia-induced microRNA-210 (miR-210). ISCU1/2 facilitate the assembly of iron-sulfur clusters, prosthetic groups that are critical for electron transport and mitochondrial oxidation-reduction reactions. Under in vivo conditions of up-regulating miR-210 and repressing ISCU1/2, the integrity of iron-sulfur clusters is disrupted. In turn, by repressing ISCU1/2 during hypoxia, miR-210 decreases the activity of prototypical iron-sulfur proteins controlling mitochondrial metabolism, including Complex I and aconitase. Consequently, miR-210 represses mitochondrial respiration and associated downstream functions. These results identify important mechanistic connections among microRNA, iron-sulfur cluster biology, hypoxia, and mitochondrial function, with broad implications for cellular metabolism and adaptation to cellular stress.