Molecular insights into frataxin-mediated iron supply for heme biosynthesis in Bacillus subtilis

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Iron is required as an element to sustain life in all eukaryotes and most bacteria. Although several bacterial iron acquisition strategies have been well explored, little is known about the intracellular trafficking pathways of iron and its entry into the systems for co-factor biogenesis. In this study, we investigated the iron-dependent process of heme maturation in Bacillus subtilis and present, for the first time, structural evidence for the physical interaction of a frataxin homologue (Fra), which is suggested to act as a regulatory component as well as an iron chaperone in different cellular pathways, and a ferrochelatase (HemH), which catalyses the final step of heme b biogenesis. Specific interaction between Fra and HemH was observed upon co-purification from crude cell lysates and, further, by using the recombinant proteins for analytical size-exclusion chromatography. Hydrogen-deuterium exchange experiments identified the landscape of the Fra/HemH interaction interface and revealed Fra as a specific ferrous iron donor for the ferrochelatase HemH. The functional utilisation of the in vitro-generated heme b co-factor upon Fra-mediated iron transfer was confirmed by using the B. subtilis nitric oxide synthase bsNos as a metabolic target enzyme. Complementary mutational analyses confirmed that Fra acts as an essential component for maturation and subsequent targeting of the heme b co-factor, hence representing a key player in the iron-dependent physiology of B. subtilis.




Mielcarek, A., Blauenburg, B., Miethke, M., & Marahiel, M. A. (2015). Molecular insights into frataxin-mediated iron supply for heme biosynthesis in Bacillus subtilis. PLoS ONE, 10(3).

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