Human telomere length regulator Rtel1 is a superfamily II DNA helicase and is essential for maintaining proper length of telomeres in chromosomes. Here we report that the N-terminal domain of human Rtel1 (RtelN) expressed in Escherichia coli cells produces a protein that contains a redox active iron-sulfur cluster with the redox midpoint potential of −248 ± 10 mV (pH 8.0). The iron-sulfur cluster in RtelN is sensitive to hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide, indicating that reactive oxygen/nitrogen species may modulate the DNA helicase activity of Rtel1 via modification of its iron-sulfur cluster. Purified RtelN retains a weak binding affinity for the single-stranded (ss) and double-stranded (ds) DNA in vitro. However, modification of the iron-sulfur cluster by hydrogen peroxide or nitric oxide does not significantly affect the DNA binding activity of RtelN, suggesting that the iron-sulfur cluster is not directly involved in the DNA interaction in the N-terminal domain of Rtel1.
Iron-sulphur cluster biogenesis requires coordinated delivery of iron and sulphur to scaffold proteins, followed by transfer of the assembled clusters from scaffold proteins to target proteins. This complex process is accomplished by a group of dedicated iron-sulphur cluster assembly proteins that are conserved from bacteria to humans. While sulphur in iron-sulphur clusters is provided by L-cysteine via cysteine desulfurase, the iron donor(s) for iron-sulphur cluster assembly remains largely elusive. Here we report that among the primary iron-sulphur cluster assembly proteins, IscA has a unique and strong binding activity for mononuclear iron in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, the ferric iron centre tightly bound in IscA can be readily extruded by L-cysteine, followed by reduction to ferrous iron for iron-sulphur cluster biogenesis. Substitution of the highly conserved residue tyrosine 40 with phenylalanine (Y40F) in IscA results in a mutant protein that has a diminished iron binding affinity but retains the iron-sulphur cluster binding activity. Genetic complementation studies show that the IscA Y40F mutant is inactive in vivo, suggesting that the iron binding activity is essential for the function of IscA in iron-sulphur cluster biogenesis.
Human mitochondrial protein mitoNEET is a novel target of type II diabetes drug pioglitazone, and contains a redox active [2Fe–2S] cluster that is hosted by a unique ligand arrangement of three cysteine and one histidine residues. Here we report that zinc ion can compete for the [2Fe–2S] cluster binding site in human mitoNEET and potentially modulate the physiological function of mitoNEET. When recombinant mitoNEET is expressed in Escherichia coli cells grown in M9 minimal media, purified mitoNEET contains very little or no iron–sulfur clusters. Addition of exogenous iron or zinc ion in the media produces mitoNEET bound with a [2Fe–2S] cluster or zinc, respectively. Mutations of the amino acid residues that hosting the [2Fe–2S] cluster in mitoNEET diminish the zinc binding activity, indicating that zinc ion and the [2Fe–2S] cluster may share the same binding site in mitoNEET. Finally, excess zinc ion effectively inhibits the [2Fe–2S] cluster assembly in mitoNEET in E. coli cells, suggesting that zinc ion may impede the function of mitoNEET by blocking the [2Fe–2S] cluster assembly in the protein.
Human mitoNEET; Type II diabetes drug pioglitazone; Iron–sulfur cluster; Zinc binding
Escherichia coli DNA damage inducible protein DinG is a superfamily II DNA helicase and is closely related to human DNA helicase XPD. Here, we report that E. coli single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB) is able to form a stable protein complex with DinG and to stimulate the DinG DNA helicase activity. An SSB mutant that retains the single-stranded DNA binding activity but fails to form a protein complex with DinG becomes a potent inhibitor for the DinG DNA helicase, suggesting that E. coli wild-type SSB stimulates the DinG DNA helicase via specific protein-protein interaction.
DNA damage; DinG; XPD; SSB; DNA helicase; iron-sulfur protein
Escherichia coli topoisomerase I (TopA) cleaves and rejoins one strand of double-stranded DNA to relax the negatively supercoiled DNA. Structurally, TopA contains an N-terminal catalytic fragment and a C-terminal zinc-binding region that is required for relaxation of the negatively supercoiled DNA. Here we report that E. coli TopA is an iron and zinc binding protein. The UV–Vis absorption measurements and metal content analyses reveal that TopA purified from E. coli cells grown in the rich LB medium contains both iron and zinc. However, TopA purified from E. coli cells grown in the M9 minimal medium has negligible amounts of zinc or iron and no topoisomerase activity. Nevertheless, supplement of exogenous zinc or iron in E. coli cells grown in the M9 minimal medium produces the zinc- or iron-bound TopA, respectively. Whereas the zinc-bound TopA is fully active to relax the negatively super-coiled DNA, the iron-bound TopA has little or no enzyme activity. Furthermore, excess iron in the M9 minimal medium is able to compete with the zinc binding in TopA in E. coli cells and attenuate the topoisomerase activity, suggesting that E. coli TopA may be modulated by iron and zinc binding in vivo.
Topoisomerase I; Zinc; Iron; Metalloprotein
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
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
Increasing evidence suggests that iron-sulfur proteins are the primary targets of NO (nitric oxide). Exposure of Escherichia coli cells to NO readily converts iron-sulfur proteins to the protein-bound DNICs (dinitrosyl iron complexes). While the protein-bound DNICs are stable in vitro under aerobic or anaerobic conditions, they are efficiently repaired in aerobically growing E. coli cells even without new protein synthesis. The cellular repair mechanism for the NO-modified iron-sulfur proteins remains largely elusive. Here we report that unlike aerobically growing E. coli cells, the starved E. coli cells fail to re-activate the NO-modified iron-sulfur proteins. Significantly, addition of L-cysteine, but not other related biological thiols, results in decomposition of the protein-bound DNICs in the starved E. coli cells and in the cell extracts under aerobic conditions. However, L-cysteine has little or no effect on the protein-bound DNICs in the starved E. coli cells and in vitro under anaerobic conditions, suggesting that oxygen is required for the L-cysteine-mediated decomposition of the protein-bound DNICs. Additional studies reveal that L-cysteine is able to exchange the DNIC with the protein-bound DNICs to form the L-cysteine-bound DNIC which is rapidly disrupted by oxygen, resulting in eventual decomposition of the protein-bound DNICs under aerobic conditions.
nitric oxide; iron-sulfur clusters; dinitrosyl iron complex; L-cysteine; superoxide
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
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
Although the NO (nitric oxide)-mediated modification of iron-sulfur proteins has been well documented in bacteria and mammalian cells, specific reactivity of NO with iron-sulfur proteins still remains elusive. Here, we report the first kinetic characterization of the reaction between NO and iron-sulfur clusters in protein using the Escherichia coli dihydroxyacid dehydratase (IlvD) [4Fe-4S] cluster as an example. Combining a sensitive NO electrode with EPR (electron paramagnetic resonance) spectroscopy and an enzyme activity assay, we demonstrate that NO is rapidly consumed by the IlvD [4Fe-4S] cluster with the concomitant formation of the IlvD-bound DNIC (dinitrosyl iron complex) and inactivation of the enzyme activity under anaerobic conditions. The rate constant for the initial reaction between NO and the IlvD [4Fe-4S] cluster is estimated to be (7.0±2.0) × 106M-2s-1 at 25°C, which is approx. 2-3 times faster than that of the NO autooxidation by O2 in aqueous solution. Addition of reduced glutathione (GSH) fails to prevent the NO-mediated modification of the IlvD [4Fe-4S] cluster regardless of the O2 presence in the medium, further suggesting that NO is more reactive with the IlvD [4Fe-4S] cluster than with GSH or O2. Purified aconitase B [4Fe-4S] cluster from E. coli has an almost identical NO reactivity as the IlvD [4Fe-4S] cluster. However, the reaction between NO and the endonuclease III [4Fe-4S] cluster is relatively slow, apparently because the [4Fe-4S] cluster in endonuclease III is less accessible to solvent than those in IlvD and aconitase B. When E. coli cells containing recombinant IlvD, aconitase B or endonuclease III are exposed to NO using the Silastic tubing NO delivery system under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, the [4Fe-4S] clusters in IlvD and aconitase B, but not in endonuclease III, are efficiently modified forming the protein-bound DNICs, confirming that NO has a higher reactivity with the [4Fe-4S] clusters in IlvD and aconitase B than with O2 or GSH. The results suggest that the iron-sulfur clusters in proteins such as IlvD and aconitase B may constitute the primary targets of the NO cytotoxicity under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
dihydroxyacid dehydratase; dinitrosyl-iron complex; iron-sulfur proteins; nitric oxide
The nitric oxide (NO) cytotoxicity has been well documented in bacteria and mammalian cells. However, the underlying mechanism is still not fully understood. Here we report that transient NO exposure effectively inhibits cell growth of Escherichia coli in minimal medium under anaerobic growth conditions, and that cell growth is restored when the NO-exposed cells are either supplemented with the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) anaerobically or returned to aerobic growth conditions. The enzyme activity measurements show that dihydroxyacid dehydratase (IlvD), an iron-sulfur enzyme essential for the BCAA biosynthesis, is completely inactivated in cells by NO with the concomitant formation of the IlvD-bound dinitrosyl iron complex (DNIC). Fractionation of the cell extracts prepared from the NO-exposed cells reveals that a large number of different protein-bound DNICs are formed by NO. While the IlvD-bound DNIC and other protein-bound DNICs are stable in cells under anaerobic growth conditions, they are efficiently repaired under aerobic growth conditions even without new protein synthesis. Additional studies indicate that L-cysteine may have an important role in repairing the NO-modified iron-sulfur proteins in aerobically growing E. coli cells. The results suggest that cellular deficiency to repair the NO-modified iron-sulfur proteins may directly contribute to the NO-induced bacteriostasis under anaerobic conditions.
nitric oxide; bacteriostasis; iron-sulfur proteins; dinitrosyl iron complex
Iron-sulfur clusters are one of the most ubiquitous redox centers in biology. Ironically, iron-sulfur clusters are highly sensitive to reactive oxygen species. Disruption of iron-sulfur clusters will not only change the activity of proteins that host iron-sulfur clusters, the iron released from the disrupted iron-sulfur clusters will further promote the production of deleterious hydroxyl free radicals via the Fenton reaction. Here, we report that ferritin A (FtnA), a major iron-storage protein in Escherichia coli, is able to scavenge the iron released from the disrupted iron-sulfur clusters and alleviates the production of hydroxyl free radicals. Furthermore, we find that the iron stored in ferritin A can be retrieved by an iron chaperon IscA for the re-assembly of the iron-sulfur cluster in a proposed scaffold IscU in the presence of the thioredoxin reductase system which emulates normal intracellular redox potential. The results suggest that E. coli ferritin A may act as an iron buffer to sequester the iron released from the disrupted iron-sulfur clusters under oxidative stress conditions and to facilitate the re-assembly of the disrupted iron-sulfur clusters under normal physiological conditions.
Ferritin A; hydroxyl free radicals; iron-sulfur clusters; IscA; IscU