Ribosomal function is dependent on multiple proteins. The ABCE1 ATPase, a unique ABC superfamily member that bears two Fe₄S₄ clusters, is crucial for ribosomal biogenesis and recycling. Here, the ATPase activity of the Pyrococcus abyssi ABCE1 (PabABCE1) was studied using both apo- (without reconstituted Fe-S clusters) and holo- (with full complement of Fe-S clusters reconstituted post-purification) forms, and is shown to be jointly regulated by the status of Fe-S clusters and Mg²⁺. Typically ATPases require Mg²⁺, as is true for PabABCE1, but Mg²⁺ also acts as a negative allosteric effector that modulates ATP affinity of PabABCE1. Physiological [Mg²⁺] inhibits the PabABCE1 ATPase (K(i) of ∼1 μM) for both apo- and holo-PabABCE1. Comparative kinetic analysis of Mg²⁺ inhibition shows differences in degree of allosteric regulation between the apo- and holo-PabABCE1 where the apparent ATP K(m) of apo-PabABCE1 increases >30-fold from ∼30 μM to over 1 mM with M²⁺. This effect would significantly convert the ATPase activity of PabABCE1 from being independent of cellular energy charge (φ) to being dependent on φ with cellular [Mg²⁺]. These findings uncover intricate overlapping effects by both [Mg²⁺] and the status of Fe-S clusters that regulate ABCE1's ATPase activity with implications to ribosomal function.
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