Structural diffusion properties of two atypical Dps from the cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme disclose interactions with ferredoxins and DNA

Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2019 Oct 1;1860(10):148063. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2019.148063. Epub 2019 Aug 13.


Ferritin-like proteins, Dps (DNA-binding protein from starved cells), store iron and play a key role in the iron homeostasis in bacteria, yet their iron releasing machinery remains largely unexplored. The electron donor proteins that may interact with Dps and promote the mobilization of the stored iron have hitherto not been identified. Here, we investigate the binding capacity of the two atypical Dps proteins NpDps4 and NpDps5 from Nostoc punctiforme to isolated ferredoxins. We report NpDps-ferredoxin interactions by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) methods. Dynamic light scattering, size exclusion chromatography and native gel electrophoresis results show that NpDps4 forms a dodecamer at both pH 6.0 and pH 8.0, while NpDps5 forms a dodecamer only at pH 6.0. In addition, FCS data clearly reveal that the non-canonical NpDps5 interacts with DNA at pH 6.0. Our spectroscopic analysis shows that [FeS] centers of the three recombinantly expressed and isolated ferredoxins are properly incorporated and are consistent with their respective native states. The results support our hypothesis that ferredoxins could be involved in cellular iron homeostasis by interacting with Dps and assisting the release of stored iron.

Keywords: Cyanobacteria; Ferredoxin; Ferritin-like proteins; Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, FCS; Iron; Protein-protein interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cyanobacteria
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Ferredoxins / metabolism*
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Nostoc / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • DPS protein, Bacteria
  • Ferredoxins
  • DNA
  • Iron