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Biochemistry. 2009 Oct 13;48(40):9569-81. doi: 10.1021/bi901182w.

The yeast iron regulatory proteins Grx3/4 and Fra2 form heterodimeric complexes containing a [2Fe-2S] cluster with cysteinyl and histidyl ligation.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208, USA.


The transcription of iron uptake and storage genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is primarily regulated by the transcription factor Aft1. Nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of Aft1 is dependent upon mitochondrial Fe-S cluster biosynthesis via a signaling pathway that includes the cytosolic monothiol glutaredoxins (Grx3 and Grx4) and the BolA homologue Fra2. However, the interactions between these proteins and the iron-dependent mechanism by which they control Aft1 localization are unclear. To reconstitute and characterize components of this signaling pathway in vitro, we have overexpressed yeast Fra2 and Grx3/4 in Escherichia coli. We have shown that coexpression of recombinant Fra2 with Grx3 or Grx4 allows purification of a stable [2Fe-2S](2+) cluster-containing Fra2-Grx3 or Fra2-Grx4 heterodimeric complex. Reconstitution of a [2Fe-2S] cluster on Grx3 or Grx4 without Fra2 produces a [2Fe-2S]-bridged homodimer. UV-visible absorption and CD, resonance Raman, EPR, ENDOR, Mossbauer, and EXAFS studies of [2Fe-2S] Grx3/4 homodimers and the [2Fe-2S] Fra2-Grx3/4 heterodimers indicate that inclusion of Fra2 in the Grx3/4 Fe-S complex causes a change in the cluster stability and coordination environment. Taken together, our analytical, spectroscopic, and mutagenesis data indicate that Grx3/4 and Fra2 form a Fe-S-bridged heterodimeric complex with Fe ligands provided by the active site cysteine of Grx3/4, glutathione, and a histidine residue. Overall, these results suggest that the ability of the Fra2-Grx3/4 complex to assemble a [2Fe-2S] cluster may act as a signal to control the iron regulon in response to cellular iron status in yeast.

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