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Mechanistic Insights into IscU Conformation Regulation for Fe–S Cluster Biogenesis Revealed by Variable Temperature Electrospray Ionization Native Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry

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posted on 2022-11-09, 19:37 authored by Cheng-Wei Lin, Shelby D. Oney-Hawthorne, Syuan-Ting Kuo, David P. Barondeau, David H. Russell
Iron–sulfur (Fe–S) cluster (ISC) cofactors are required for the function of many critical cellular processes. In the ISC Fe–S cluster biosynthetic pathway, IscU assembles Fe–S cluster intermediates from iron, electrons, and inorganic sulfur, which is provided by the cysteine desulfurase enzyme IscS. IscU also binds to Zn, which mimics and competes for binding with the Fe–S cluster. Crystallographic and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic studies reveal that IscU is a metamorphic protein that exists in multiple conformational states, which include at least a structured form and a disordered form. The structured form of IscU is favored by metal binding and is stable in a narrow temperature range, undergoing both cold and hot denaturation. Interestingly, the form of IscU that binds IscS and functions in Fe–S cluster assembly remains controversial. Here, results from variable temperature electrospray ionization (vT-ESI) native ion mobility mass spectrometry (nIM-MS) establish that IscU exists in structured, intermediate, and disordered forms that rearrange to more extended conformations at higher temperatures. A comparison of Zn-IscU and apo-IscU reveals that Zn­(II) binding attenuates the cold/heat denaturation of IscU, promotes refolding of IscU, favors the structured and intermediate conformations, and inhibits the disordered high charge states. Overall, these findings provide a structural rationalization for the role of Zn­(II) in stabilizing IscU conformations and IscS in altering the IscU active site to prepare for Zn­(II) release and cluster synthesis. This work highlights how vT-ESI–nIM-MS can be applied as a powerful tool in mechanistic enzymology by providing details of relationships among temperature, protein conformations, and ligand/protein binding.

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