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FEBS Lett. 1997 Oct 27;416(3):349-52.

FNR is a direct oxygen sensor having a biphasic response curve.

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Centre for Metalloprotein Spectroscopy and Biology, School of Chemical Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.


FNR is a transcription regulator that controls the expression of target genes in response to anoxia. Anaerobiosis is accompanied by the acquisition of two [4Fe-4S]2+ clusters per FNR dimer and the ability to bind DNA site-specifically. Oxidation of the [4Fe-4S]2+ form of FNR by O2 produced a non-DNA-binding, transcriptionally inactive form which also contains an iron-sulfur cluster, recently identified by Mossbauer spectroscopy as a [2Fe-2S] cluster (Khoroshilova et al., 1997, PNAS. 94, 6078). Complete conversion needed at least 2.5-3.0 molecules of O2 per [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster. Using sub-stoicheiometric amounts of air-saturated buffer, stable equilibria were established in which the [4Fe-4S]2+ and [2Fe-2S]2+ forms co-exist and no EPR detectable free ferric ions were released. In contrast, a 20-fold molar excess K3Fe(CN)6 was required to oxidise the [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster and in this case, ferric ions were released. FNR is therefore a sensitive O2 sensor.

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