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Recent advances have led to numerous landmark discoveries of [4Fe4S] clusters coordinated by essential enzymes in repair, replication, and transcription across all domains of life. The cofactor has notably been challenging to observe for many nucleic acid processing enzymes due to several factors, including a weak bioinformatic signature of the coordinating cysteines and lability of the metal cofactor. To overcome these challenges, we have used sequence alignments, an anaerobic purification method, iron quantification, and UV-visible and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopies to investigate UvrC, the dual-incision endonuclease in the bacterial nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. The characteristics of UvrC are consistent with [4Fe4S] coordination with 60-70% cofactor incorporation, and additionally, we show that, bound to UvrC, the [4Fe4S] cofactor is susceptible to oxidative degradation with aggregation of apo species. Importantly, in its holo form with the cofactor bound, UvrC forms high affinity complexes with duplexed DNA substrates; the apparent dissociation constants to well-matched and damaged duplex substrates are 100 ± 20 nM and 80 ± 30 nM, respectively. This high affinity DNA binding contrasts reports made for isolated protein lacking the cofactor. Moreover, using DNA electrochemistry, we find that the cluster coordinated by UvrC is redox-active and participates in DNA-mediated charge transport chemistry with a DNA-bound midpoint potential of 90 mV vs NHE. This work highlights that the [4Fe4S] center is critical to UvrC.


Rebekah M B Silva, Michael A Grodick, Jacqueline K Barton. UvrC Coordinates an O2-Sensitive [4Fe4S] Cofactor. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2020 Jun 24;142(25):10964-10977

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PMID: 32470300

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