A Glutaredoxin-BolA Complex Serves as an Iron-Sulfur Cluster Chaperone for the Cytosolic Cluster Assembly Machinery [Metabolism]

August 12th, 2016 by Frey, A. G., Palenchar, D. J., Wildemann, J. D., Philpott, C. C.

Cells contain hundreds of proteins that require iron cofactors for activity. Iron cofactors are synthesized in the cell, but the pathways involved in distributing heme, iron-sulfur clusters, and ferrous/ferric ions to apo-proteins remain incompletely defined. In particular, cytosolic monothiol glutaredoxins and BolA-like proteins have been identified as [2Fe-2S]-coordinating complexes in vitro and iron-regulatory proteins in fungi, but it is not clear how these proteins function in mammalian systems or how this complex might affect Fe-S proteins or the cytosolic Fe-S assembly machinery. To explore these questions, we use quantitative immunoprecipitation and live-cell, proximity-dependent biotinylation, to monitor interactions between Glrx3, BolA2, and components of the cytosolic iron-sulfur cluster assembly system. We characterize cytosolic Glrx3-BolA2 as a [2Fe-2S] chaperone complex in human cells. Unlike complexes formed by fungal orthologs, human Glrx3-BolA2 interaction required the coordination of Fe-S clusters, while Glrx3 homodimer formation did not. Cellular Glrx3-BolA2 complexes increased 6-8-fold in response to increasing iron, forming a rapidly-expandable pool of Fe-S clusters. Fe-S coordination by Glrx3-BolA2 did not depend on Ciapin1 or Ciao1, proteins that bind Glrx3 and are involved in cytosolic Fe-S cluster assembly and distribution. Instead, Glrx3 and BolA2 bound and facilitated Fe-S incorporation into Ciapin1, a [2Fe-2S] protein functioning early in the cytosolic Fe-S assembly pathway. Thus, Glrx3-BolA is a [2Fe-2S] chaperone complex capable of transferring [2Fe-2S] clusters to apo-proteins in human cells.