A dimer of the FeS cluster biosynthesis protein IscA from cyanobacteria binds a [2Fe2S] cluster between two protomers and transfers it to [2Fe2S] and [4Fe4S] apo proteins

Eur J Biochem. 2003 Apr;270(8):1662-71. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1033.2003.03522.x.


Two proteins with similarity to IscA are encoded in the genome of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803. One of them, the product of slr1417 which accounts for 0.025% of the total soluble protein of Synechocystis was over-expressed in E. coli and purified. The purified protein was found to be mainly dimeric and did not contain any cofactor. Incubation with iron ions, cysteine and Synechocystis IscS led to the formation of one [2Fe2S] cluster at an IscA dimer as demonstrated (by the binding of about one iron and one sulfide ion per IscA monomer) by UV/Vis, EPR and Mössbauer spectroscopy. Mössbauer spectroscopy further indicated that the FeS cluster was bound by four cysteine residues. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that of the five cysteine residues only C110 and C112 were involved in cluster binding. It was therefore concluded that the [2Fe2S] cluster is located between the two protomers of the IscA dimer and ligated by C110 and C112 of both protomers. The cluster could be transferred to apo ferredoxin, a [2Fe2S] protein, with a half-time of 10 min. Surprisingly, incubation of cluster-containing IscA with apo adenosine 5'-phosphosulfate reductase led to a reactivation of the enzyme which requires the presence of a [4Fe4S] cluster. This demonstrates that it is possible to build [4Fe4S] clusters from [2Fe2S] units.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Apoproteins / chemistry
  • Apoproteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Cyanobacteria / genetics
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism*
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / chemistry*
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Protein Conformation
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Spectroscopy, Mossbauer


  • Apoproteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins