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J Biol Chem. 2010 Jul 23;285(30):23331-41. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.127449. Epub 2010 May 11.

Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster assembly: the SufBCD complex is a new type of Fe-S scaffold with a flavin redox cofactor.

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Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, iRTSV/LCBM, 38054 Grenoble Cedex 09, France.


Assembly of iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters and maturation of Fe-S proteins in vivo require complex machineries. In Escherichia coli, under adverse stress conditions, this process is achieved by the SUF system that contains six proteins as follows: SufA, SufB, SufC, SufD, SufS, and SufE. Here, we provide a detailed characterization of the SufBCD complex whose function was so far unknown. Using biochemical and spectroscopic analyses, we demonstrate the following: (i) the complex as isolated exists mainly in a 1:2:1 (B:C:D) stoichiometry; (ii) the complex can assemble a [4Fe-4S] cluster in vitro and transfer it to target proteins; and (iii) the complex binds one molecule of flavin adenine nucleotide per SufBC(2)D complex, only in its reduced form (FADH(2)), which has the ability to reduce ferric iron. These results suggest that the SufBC(2)D complex functions as a novel type of scaffold protein that assembles an Fe-S cluster through the mobilization of sulfur from the SufSE cysteine desulfurase and the FADH(2)-dependent reductive mobilization of iron.

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