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Title: Fluorescent probes for tracking the transfer of iron–sulfur cluster and other metal cofactors in biosynthetic reaction pathways

Iron–sulfur (Fe–S) clusters are protein cofactors that are constructed and delivered to target proteins by elaborate biosynthetic machinery. Mechanistic insights into these processes have been limited by the lack of sensitive probes for tracking Fe–S cluster synthesis and transfer reactions. Here we present fusion protein- and intein-based fluorescent labeling strategies that can probe Fe–S cluster binding. The fluorescence is sensitive to different cluster types ([2Fe–2S] and [4Fe–4S] clusters), ligand environments ([2Fe–2S] clusters on Rieske, ferredoxin (Fdx), and glutaredoxin), and cluster oxidation states. The power of this approach is highlighted with an extreme example in which the kinetics of Fe–S cluster transfer reactions are monitored between two Fdx molecules that have identical Fe–S spectroscopic properties. This exchange reaction between labeled and unlabeled Fdx is catalyzed by dithiothreitol (DTT), a result that was confirmed by mass spectrometry. DTT likely functions in a ligand substitution reaction that generates a [2Fe–2S]–DTT species, which can transfer the cluster to either labeled or unlabeled Fdx. The ability to monitor this challenging cluster exchange reaction indicates that real-time Fe–S cluster incorporation can be tracked for a specific labeled protein in multicomponent assays that include several unlabeled Fe–S binding proteins or other chromophores. Such advanced kinetic experiments aremore » required to untangle the intricate networks of transfer pathways and the factors affecting flux through branch points. High sensitivity and suitability with high-throughput methodology are additional benefits of this approach. Lastly, we anticipate that this cluster detection methodology will transform the study of Fe–S cluster pathways and potentially other metal cofactor biosynthetic pathways.« less
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  1. Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of the American Chemical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 137; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0002-7863
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States