Structure-Function Relationships in the Oligomeric NADPH-Dependent Assimilatory Sulfite Reductase

Biochemistry. 2018 Jul 3;57(26):3764-3772. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00446. Epub 2018 Jun 4.


The central step in the assimilation of sulfur is a six-electron reduction of sulfite to sulfide, catalyzed by the oxidoreductase NADPH-dependent assimilatory sulfite reductase (SiR). SiR is composed of two subunits. One is a multidomain flavin binding reductase (SiRFP) and the other an iron-containing oxidase (SiRHP). Both enzymes are primarily globular, as expected from their functions as redox enzymes. Consequently, we know a fair amount about their structures but not how they assemble. Curiously, both structures have conspicuous regions that are structurally undefined, leaving questions about their functions and raising the possibility that they are critical in forming the larger complex. Here, we used ultraviolet-visible and circular dichroism spectroscopy, isothermal titration calorimetry, proteolytic sensitivity tests, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, and activity assays to explore the effect of altering specific amino acids in SiRFP on their function in the holoenzyme complex. Additionally, we used computational analysis to predict the propensity for intrinsic disorder within both subunits and found that SiRHP's N-terminus is predicted to have properties associated with intrinsic disorder. Both proteins also contained internal regions with properties indicative of intrinsic disorder. We showed that SiRHP's N-terminal disordered region is critical for complex formation. Together with our analysis of SiRFP amino acid variants, we show how molecular interactions outside the core of each SiR globular enzyme drive complex assembly of this prototypical oxidoreductase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins / chemistry
  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Domains
  • Protein Subunits / chemistry
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Sulfite Reductase (NADPH) / chemistry
  • Sulfite Reductase (NADPH) / metabolism*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins
  • Protein Subunits
  • NADP
  • Sulfite Reductase (NADPH)
  • sulfite reductase (NADPH), E coli