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Iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis: toward an understanding of cellular machinery and molecular mechanism.

Authors
  • Mansy, Sheref S
  • Cowan, J A
Type
Published Article
Journal
Accounts of chemical research
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2004
Volume
37
Issue
9
Pages
719–725
Identifiers
PMID: 15379587
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Iron-sulfur clusters are among the most complex metal-containing prosthetic centers in biology. Most if not all of the proteins involved in the biosynthesis of "simple" Fe-S clusters have been identified. The structural and functional chemistry of these proteins has been the subject of intense research efforts, and many of the key details are now understood in structural and mechanistic detail. The fact that Fe-S cluster-binding proteins can be reconstituted in vitro with no accessory proteins provides an important indicator of the intracellular roles for many proteins on the Fe-S cluster assembly pathway. Indeed, such proteins are more correctly viewed as carrier proteins, rather than as catalysts for the reaction, that both avoid the toxicity associated with free iron and sulfide and allow delivery at lower intracellular concentrations of these species. The IscU (or ISU) family of proteins serves a key role as scaffolding proteins on which [2Fe-2S] building blocks are assembled prior to transfer to final apo target proteins. IscU in particular exhibits highly unusual conformational flexibility that appears critical to its function.

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