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J Biol Chem. 2013 Oct 4;288(40):28755-70. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.482042. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Human mitochondrial chaperone (mtHSP70) and cysteine desulfurase (NFS1) bind preferentially to the disordered conformation, whereas co-chaperone (HSC20) binds to the structured conformation of the iron-sulfur cluster scaffold protein (ISCU).

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From the Center for Eukaryotic Structural Genomics and.


Human ISCU is the scaffold protein for mitochondrial iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster biogenesis and transfer. NMR spectra have revealed that ISCU populates two conformational states; that is, a more structured state (S) and a partially disordered state (D). We identified two single amino acid substitutions (D39V and N90A) that stabilize the S-state and two (D39A and H105A) that stabilize the D-state. We isolated the two constituent proteins of the human cysteine desulfurase complex (NFS1 and ISD11) separately and used NMR spectroscopy to investigate their interaction with ISCU. We found that ISD11 does not interact directly with ISCU. By contrast, NFS1 binds preferentially to the D-state of ISCU as does the NFS1-ISD11 complex. An in vitro Fe-S cluster assembly assay showed that [2Fe-2S] and [4Fe-4S] clusters are assembled on ISCU when catalyzed by NFS1 alone and at a higher rate when catalyzed by the NFS1-ISD11 complex. The DnaK-type chaperone (mtHSP70) and DnaJ-type co-chaperone (HSC20) are involved in the transfer of clusters bound to ISCU to acceptor proteins in an ATP-dependent reaction. We found that the ATPase activity of mtHSP70 is accelerated by HSC20 and further accelerated by HSC20 plus ISCU. NMR studies have shown that mtHSP70 binds preferentially to the D-state of ISCU and that HSC20 binds preferentially to the S-state of ISCU.


ATPases; Chaperone Chaperonin; Enzyme Catalysis; Mitochondria; NMR; Protein Conformation; Protein-Protein Interactions; Scaffold Proteins; Spectroscopy

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