Generation of 34S-substituted protein-bound [4Fe-4S] clusters using 34S-L-cysteine.
ABSTRACT: The ability to specifically label the sulphide ions of protein-bound iron-sulphur (FeS) clusters with 34S isotope greatly facilitates structure-function studies. In particular, it provides insight when using either spectroscopic techniques that probe cluster-associated vibrations, or non-denaturing mass spectrometry, where the ?+2?Da average increase per sulphide enables unambiguous assignment of the FeS cluster and, where relevant, its conversion/degradation products. Here, we employ a thermostable homologue of the O-acetyl-l-serine sulfhydrylase CysK to generate 34S-substituted l-cysteine and subsequently use it as a substrate for the l-cysteine desulfurase NifS to gradually supply 34S2- for in vitro FeS cluster assembly in an otherwise standard cluster reconstitution protocol.
Project description:In most eukaryotes, the mitochondrion is the main organelle for the formation of iron-sulfur (FeS) clusters. This function is mediated through the iron-sulfur cluster assembly machinery, which was inherited from the ?-proteobacterial ancestor of mitochondria. In Archamoebae, including pathogenic Entamoeba histolytica and free-living Mastigamoeba balamuthi, the complex iron-sulfur cluster machinery has been replaced by an ?-proteobacterial nitrogen fixation (NIF) system consisting of two components: NifS (cysteine desulfurase) and NifU (scaffold protein). However, the cellular localization of the NIF system and the involvement of mitochondria in archamoebal FeS assembly are controversial. Here, we show that the genes for both NIF components are duplicated within the M. balamuthi genome. One paralog of each protein contains an amino-terminal extension that targets proteins to mitochondria (NifS-M and NifU-M), and the second paralog lacks a targeting signal, thereby reflecting the cytosolic form of the NIF machinery (NifS-C and NifU-C). The dual localization of the NIF system corresponds to the presence of FeS proteins in both cellular compartments, including detectable hydrogenase activity in Mastigamoeba cytosol and mitochondria. In contrast, E. histolytica possesses only single genes encoding NifS and NifU, respectively, and there is no evidence for the presence of the NIF machinery in its reduced mitochondria. Thus, M. balamuthi is unique among eukaryotes in that its FeS cluster formation is mediated through two most likely independent NIF machineries present in two cellular compartments.
Project description:In bacteria and plants, serine acetyltransferase (CysE) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A sulfhydrylase (CysK) collaborate to synthesize l-Cys from l-Ser. CysE and CysK bind one another with high affinity to form the cysteine synthase complex (CSC). We demonstrate that bacterial CysE is activated when bound to CysK. CysE activation results from the release of substrate inhibition, with the Ki for l-Ser increasing from 4 mm for free CysE to 16 mm for the CSC. Feedback inhibition of CysE by l-Cys is also relieved in the bacterial CSC. These findings suggest that the CysE active site is allosterically altered by CysK to alleviate substrate and feedback inhibition in the context of the CSC.
Project description:O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A (CysK) is the pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-dependent enzyme that catalyzes the final reaction of cysteine biosynthesis in bacteria. CysK was initially identified in a complex with serine acetyltransferase (CysE), which catalyzes the penultimate reaction in the synthetic pathway. This "cysteine synthase" complex is stabilized by insertion of the CysE C-terminus into the active-site of CysK. Remarkably, the CysK/CysE binding interaction is conserved in most bacterial and plant systems. For the past 40years, CysK was thought to function exclusively in cysteine biosynthesis, but recent studies have revealed a repertoire of additional "moonlighting" activities for this enzyme. CysK and its paralogs influence transcription in both Gram-positive bacteria and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. CysK also activates an antibacterial nuclease toxin produced by uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Intriguingly, each moonlighting activity requires a binding partner that invariably mimics the C-terminus of CysE to interact with the CysK active site. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Cofactor-dependent proteins: evolution, chemical diversity and bio-applications.
Project description:CysK (O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase) is a pyridoxal-5' phosphate-dependent enzyme which catalyzes the second step of the de novo cysteine biosynthesis pathway by converting O-acetyl serine (OAS) into l-cysteine in the presence of sulfide. The first step of the cysteine biosynthesis involves formation of OAS from serine and acetyl CoA by CysE (serine acetyltransferase). Apart from role of CysK in cysteine biosynthesis, recent studies have revealed various additional roles of this enzyme in bacterial physiology. Other than the suggested regulatory role in cysteine production, other activities of CysK include involvement of CysK-in contact-dependent toxin activation in Gram-negative pathogens, as a transcriptional regulator of CymR by stabilizing the CymR-DNA interactions, in biofilm formation by providing cysteine and via another mechanism not yet understood, in ofloxacin and tellurite resistance as well as in cysteine desulfurization. Some of these activities involve binding of CysK to another cellular partner, where the complex is regulated by the availability of OAS and/or sulfide (H2S). The aim of this study is to present an overview of current knowledge of multiple functions performed by CysK and identifying structural features involved in alternate functions. Due to possible role in disease, promoting or inhibiting a "moonlighting" function of CysK could be a target for developing novel therapeutic interventions.
Project description:Amino acid biosynthesis pathways observed in nature typically require enzymes that are made with the amino acids they produce. For example, Escherichia coli produces cysteine from serine via two enzymes that contain cysteine: serine acetyltransferase (CysE) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase (CysK/CysM). To solve this chicken-and-egg problem, we substituted alternate amino acids in CysE, CysK and CysM for cysteine and methionine, which are the only two sulfur-containing proteinogenic amino acids. Using a cysteine-dependent auxotrophic E. coli strain, CysE function was rescued by cysteine-free and methionine-deficient enzymes, and CysM function was rescued by cysteine-free enzymes. CysK function, however, was not rescued in either case. Enzymatic assays showed that the enzymes responsible for rescuing the function in CysE and CysM also retained their activities in vitro. Additionally, substitution of the two highly conserved methionines in CysM decreased but did not eliminate overall activity. Engineering amino acid biosynthetic enzymes to lack the so-produced amino acids can provide insights into, and perhaps eventually fully recapitulate via a synthetic approach, the biogenesis of biotic amino acids.
Project description:The formation of multienzymatic complexes allows for the fine tuning of many aspects of enzymatic functions, such as efficiency, localization, stability, and moonlighting. Here, we investigated, in solution, the structure of bacterial cysteine synthase (CS) complex. CS is formed by serine acetyltransferase (CysE) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase isozyme A (CysK), the enzymes that catalyze the last two steps of cysteine biosynthesis in bacteria. CysK and CysE have been proposed as potential targets for antibiotics, since cysteine and related metabolites are intimately linked to protection of bacterial cells against redox damage and to antibiotic resistance. We applied a combined approach of small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) spectroscopy and protein painting to obtain a model for the solution structure of CS. Protein painting allowed the identification of protein-protein interaction hotspots that were then used as constrains to model the CS quaternary assembly inside the SAXS envelope. We demonstrate that the active site entrance of CysK is involved in complex formation, as suggested by site-directed mutagenesis and functional studies. Furthermore, complex formation involves a conformational change in one CysK subunit that is likely transmitted through the dimer interface to the other subunit, with a regulatory effect. Finally, SAXS data indicate that only one active site of CysK is involved in direct interaction with CysE and unambiguously unveil the quaternary arrangement of CS.
Project description:Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is a widespread mechanism of bacterial competition. CDI(+) bacteria deliver the toxic C-terminal region of contact-dependent inhibition A proteins (CdiA-CT) into neighboring target bacteria and produce CDI immunity proteins (CdiI) to protect against self-inhibition. The CdiA-CT(EC536) deployed by uropathogenic Escherichia coli 536 (EC536) is a bacterial toxin 28 (Ntox28) domain that only exhibits ribonuclease activity when bound to the cysteine biosynthetic enzyme O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A (CysK). Here, we present crystal structures of the CysK/CdiA-CT(EC536) binary complex and the neutralized ternary complex of CysK/CdiA-CT/CdiI(EC536) CdiA-CT(EC536) inserts its C-terminal Gly-Tyr-Gly-Ile peptide tail into the active-site cleft of CysK to anchor the interaction. Remarkably, E. coli serine O-acetyltransferase uses a similar Gly-Asp-Gly-Ile motif to form the "cysteine synthase" complex with CysK. The cysteine synthase complex is found throughout bacteria, protozoa, and plants, indicating that CdiA-CT(EC536) exploits a highly conserved protein-protein interaction to promote its toxicity. CysK significantly increases CdiA-CT(EC536) thermostability and is required for toxin interaction with tRNA substrates. These observations suggest that CysK stabilizes the toxin fold, thereby organizing the nuclease active site for substrate recognition and catalysis. By contrast, Ntox28 domains from Gram-positive bacteria lack C-terminal Gly-Tyr-Gly-Ile motifs, suggesting that they do not interact with CysK. We show that the Ntox28 domain from Ruminococcus lactaris is significantly more thermostable than CdiA-CT(EC536), and its intrinsic tRNA-binding properties support CysK-independent nuclease activity. The striking differences between related Ntox28 domains suggest that CDI toxins may be under evolutionary pressure to maintain low global stability.
Project description:Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is mediated by the CdiB/CdiA family of two-partner secretion proteins. CdiA effector proteins are exported onto the surface of CDI(+) inhibitor cells, where they interact with susceptible bacteria and deliver effectors/toxins derived from their C-terminal regions (CdiA-CT). CDI(+) cells also produce an immunity protein that binds the CdiA-CT and blocks its activity to prevent autoinhibition. Here, we show that the CdiA-CT from uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain 536 (UPEC536) is a latent tRNase that requires activation by the biosynthetic enzyme CysK (O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A). UPEC536 CdiA-CT exhibits no nuclease activity in vitro, but cleaves within transfer RNA (tRNA) anti-codon loops when purified CysK is added. CysK and CdiA-CT form a stable complex, and their binding interaction appears to mimic that of the CysK/CysE cysteine synthase complex. CdiA-CT activation is also required for growth inhibition. Synthesis of CdiA-CT in E. coli cysK(+) cells arrests cell growth, whereas the growth of ?cysK mutants is unaffected by the toxin. Moreover, E. coli ?cysK cells are completely resistant to inhibitor cells expressing UPEC536 CdiA, indicating that CysK is required to activate the tRNase during CDI. Thus, CysK acts as a permissive factor for CDI, providing a potential mechanism to modulate growth inhibition in target cells.
Project description:In modern environments, pore water geochemistry and modelling simulations allow the study of methane (CH4) sources and sinks at any geographic location. However, reconstructing CH4 dynamics in geological records is challenging. Here, we show that the benthic foraminiferal ?34S can be used to reconstruct the flux (i.e., diffusive vs. advective) and timing of CH4 emissions in fossil records. We measured the ?34S of Cassidulina neoteretis specimens from selected samples collected at Vestnesa Ridge, a methane cold seep site in the Arctic Ocean. Our results show lower benthic foraminiferal ?34S values (?20‰) in the sample characterized by seawater conditions, whereas higher values (?25-27‰) were measured in deeper samples as a consequence of the presence of past sulphate-methane transition zones. The correlation between ?34S and the bulk benthic foraminiferal ?13C supports this interpretation, whereas the foraminiferal ?18O-?34S correlation indicates CH4 advection at the studied site during the Early Holocene and the Younger-Dryas - post-Bølling. This study highlights the potential of the benthic foraminiferal ?34S as a novel tool to reconstruct the flux of CH4 emissions in geological records and to indirectly date fossil seeps.
Project description:The FNR protein of Escherichia coli is a redox-responsive transcription regulator that activates and represses a family of genes required for anaerobic and aerobic metabolism. Reconstitution of wild-type FNR by anaerobic treatment with ferrous ions, cysteine and the NifS protein of Azotobacter vinelandii leads to the incorporation of two [4Fe-4S]2+ clusters per FNR dimer. The UV-visible spectrum of reconstituted FNR has a broad absorbance at 420 nm. The clusters are EPR silent under anaerobic conditions but are degraded to [3Fe-4S]+ by limited oxidation with air, and completely lost on prolonged air exposure. The association of FNR with the iron-sulphur clusters is confirmed by CD spectroscopy. Incorporation of the [4Fe-4S]2+ clusters increases site-specific DNA binding about 7-fold compared with apo-FNR. Anaerobic transcription activation and repression in vitro likewise depends on the presence of the iron-sulphur cluster, and its inactivation under aerobic conditions provides a demonstration in vitro of the FNR-mediated aerobic-anaerobic transcriptional switch.