Crystal structure of an Fe-S cluster-containing fumarate hydratase enzyme from Leishmania major reveals a unique protein fold

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Aug 30;113(35):9804-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1605031113. Epub 2016 Aug 15.


Fumarate hydratases (FHs) are essential metabolic enzymes grouped into two classes. Here, we present the crystal structure of a class I FH, the cytosolic FH from Leishmania major, which reveals a previously undiscovered protein fold that coordinates a catalytically essential [4Fe-4S] cluster. Our 2.05 Å resolution data further reveal a dimeric architecture for this FH that resembles a heart, with each lobe comprised of two domains that are arranged around the active site. Besides the active site, where the substrate S-malate is bound bidentate to the unique iron of the [4Fe-4S] cluster, other binding pockets are found near the dimeric enzyme interface, some of which are occupied by malonate, shown here to be a weak inhibitor of this enzyme. Taken together, these data provide a framework both for investigations of the class I FH catalytic mechanism and for drug design aimed at fighting neglected tropical diseases.

Keywords: Fe-S cluster; X-ray crystallography; fumarate hydratase; leishmaniases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Fumarate Hydratase / chemistry*
  • Fumarate Hydratase / genetics
  • Fumarate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Vectors / chemistry
  • Genetic Vectors / metabolism
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / chemistry*
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / genetics
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / metabolism
  • Leishmania major / chemistry*
  • Leishmania major / enzymology
  • Malates / chemistry*
  • Malates / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical
  • Protein Conformation, beta-Strand
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protozoan Proteins / chemistry*
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • Malates
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • malic acid
  • Fumarate Hydratase

Associated data

  • PDB/5L2R