Iron is an essential element for almost all organisms. In eukaryotes, it is mainly used in mitochondria for the biosynthesis of iron-sulfur clusters and haem group maturation. Iron is delivered into the mitochondrion by mitoferrins, members of the MCF (mitochondrial carrier family), through an unknown mechanism. In the present study, the yeast homologues of these proteins, Mrs3p (mitochondrial RNA splicing 3) and Mrs4p, were studied by inserting them into liposomes. In this context, they could transport Fe2+ across the proteoliposome membrane, as shown using the iron chelator bathophenanthroline. A series of amino acid-modifying reagents were screened for their effects on Mrs3p-mediated iron transport. The results of the present study suggest that carboxy and imidazole groups are essential for iron transport. This was confirmed by in vivo complementation assays, which demonstrated that three highly conserved histidine residues are important for Mrs3p function. These histidine residues are not conserved in other MCF members and thus they are likely to play a specific role in iron transport. A model describing how these residues help iron to transit smoothly across the carrier cavity is proposed and compared with the structural and biochemical data available for other carriers in this family.
Ubiquinone, also called coenzyme Q, is a lipid subject to oxido-reduction cycles. It functions in the respiratory electron transport chain and plays a pivotal role in energy generating processes. In this review, we focus on the biosynthetic pathway and physiological role of ubiquinone in bacteria. We present the studies which, within a period of five decades, led to the identification and characterization of the genes named ubi and involved in ubiquinone production in Escherichia coli. When available, the structures of the corresponding enzymes are shown and their biological function is detailed. The phenotypes observed in mutants deficient in ubiquinone biosynthesis are presented, either in model bacteria or in pathogens. A particular attention is given to the role of ubiquinone in respiration, modulation of two-component activity and bacterial virulence. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 18th European Bioenergetic Conference.
Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q or Q8) is a redox active lipid which functions in the respiratory electron transport chain and plays a crucial role in energy-generating processes. In both Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, the yigP gene is located between ubiE and ubiB, all three being likely to constitute an operon. In this work, we showed that the uncharacterized yigP gene was involved in Q8 biosynthesis in both strains, and we have renamed it ubiJ. Under aerobic conditions, an ubiJ mutant was found to be impaired for Q8 biosynthesis and for growth in rich medium but did not present any defect anaerobically. Surprisingly, the C-terminal 50 amino acids, predicted to interact with lipids, were sufficient to restore Q8 biosynthesis and growth of the ubiJ mutant. Salmonella ubiE and ubiB mutants were impaired in Q8 biosynthesis and in respiration using different electron acceptors. Moreover, ubiE, ubiJ, and ubiB mutants were all impaired for Salmonella intracellular proliferation in macrophages. Taken together, our data establish an important role for UbiJ in Q8 biosynthesis and reveal an unexpected link between Q8 and virulence. They also emphasize that Salmonella organisms in an intracellular lifestyle rely on aerobic respiration to survive and proliferate within macrophages.
Human COQ6 encodes a monooxygenase which is responsible for the C5-hydroxylation of the quinone ring of coenzyme Q (CoQ). Mutations in COQ6 cause primary CoQ deficiency, a condition responsive to oral CoQ10 supplementation. Treatment is however still problematic given the poor bioavailability of CoQ10. We employed S. cerevisiae lacking the orthologous gene to characterize the two different human COQ6 isoforms and the mutations found in patients. COQ6 isoform a can partially complement the defective yeast, while isoform b, which lacks part of the FAD-binding domain, is inactive but partially stable, and could have a regulatory/inhibitory function in CoQ10 biosynthesis. Most mutations identified in patients, including the frameshift Q461fs478X mutation, retain residual enzymatic activity, and all patients carry at least one hypomorphic allele, confirming that the complete block of CoQ biosynthesis is lethal. These mutants are also partially stable and allow the assembly of the CoQ biosynthetic complex. In fact treatment with two hydroxylated analogues of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, namely, vanillic acid or 3-4-hydroxybenzoic acid, restored the respiratory growth of yeast ?coq6 cells expressing the mutant huCOQ6-isoa proteins. These compounds, and particularly vanillic acid, could therefore represent an interesting therapeutic option for COQ6 patients.
Coenzyme Q (ubiquinone or Q) is a redox-active lipid found in organisms ranging from bacteria to mammals in which it plays a crucial role in energy-generating processes. Q biosynthesis is a complex pathway that involves multiple proteins. In this work, we show that the uncharacterized conserved visC gene is involved in Q biosynthesis in Escherichia coli, and we have renamed it ubiI. Based on genetic and biochemical experiments, we establish that the UbiI protein functions in the C5-hydroxylation reaction. A strain deficient in ubiI has a low level of Q and accumulates a compound derived from the Q biosynthetic pathway, which we purified and characterized. We also demonstrate that UbiI is only implicated in aerobic Q biosynthesis and that an alternative enzyme catalyzes the C5-hydroxylation reaction in the absence of oxygen. We have solved the crystal structure of a truncated form of UbiI. This structure shares many features with the canonical FAD-dependent para-hydroxybenzoate hydroxylase and represents the first structural characterization of a monooxygenase involved in Q biosynthesis. Site-directed mutagenesis confirms that residues of the flavin binding pocket of UbiI are important for activity. With our identification of UbiI, the three monooxygenases necessary for aerobic Q biosynthesis in E. coli are known.
Coenzyme Q (Q), an essential component of eukaryotic cells, is synthesized by several enzymes from the precursor 4-hydroxybenzoic acid. Mutations in six of the Q biosynthesis genes cause diseases that can sometimes be ameliorated by oral Q supplementation. We establish here that Coq6, a predicted flavin-dependent monooxygenase, is involved exclusively in the C5-hydroxylation reaction. In an unusual way, the ferredoxin Yah1 and the ferredoxin reductase Arh1 may be the in vivo source of electrons for Coq6. We also show that hydroxylated analogs of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, such as vanillic acid or 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid, restore Q biosynthesis and respiration in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae coq6 mutant. Our results demonstrate that appropriate analogs of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid can bypass a deficient Q biosynthetic enzyme and might be considered for the treatment of some primary Q deficiencies.
Iron is an essential nutrient for cells. It is unknown how iron, after its import into the cytosol, is specifically delivered to iron-dependent processes in various cellular compartments. Here, we identify an essential function of the conserved cytosolic monothiol glutaredoxins Grx3 and Grx4 in intracellular iron trafficking and sensing. Depletion of Grx3/4 specifically impaired all iron-requiring reactions in the cytosol, mitochondria, and nucleus, including the synthesis of Fe/S clusters, heme, and di-iron centers. These defects were caused by impairment of iron insertion into proteins and iron transfer to mitochondria, indicating that intracellular iron is not bioavailable, despite highly elevated cytosolic levels. The crucial task of Grx3/4 is mediated by a bridging, glutathione-containing Fe/S center that functions both as an iron sensor and in intracellular iron delivery. Collectively, our study uncovers an important role of monothiol glutaredoxins in cellular iron metabolism, with a surprising connection to cellular redox and sulfur metabolisms.
Yeast ubiquinone or coenzyme Q(6) (Q(6)) is a redox active lipid that plays a crucial role in the mitochondrial electron transport chain. At least nine proteins (Coq1p-9p) participate in Q(6) biosynthesis from 4-hydroxybenzoate (4-HB). We now show that the mitochondrial ferredoxin Yah1p and the ferredoxin reductase Arh1p are required for Q(6) biosynthesis, probably for the first hydroxylation of the pathway. Conditional Gal-YAH1 and Gal-ARH1 mutants accumulate 3-hexaprenyl-4-hydroxyphenol and 3-hexaprenyl-4-aminophenol. Para-aminobenzoic acid (pABA) is shown to be the precursor of 3-hexaprenyl-4-aminophenol and to compete with 4-HB for the prenylation reaction catalyzed by Coq2p. Yeast cells convert U-((13)C)-pABA into (13)C ring-labeled Q(6), a result that identifies pABA as a new precursor of Q(6) and implies an additional NH(2)-to-OH conversion in Q(6) biosynthesis. Our study identifies pABA, Yah1p, and Arh1p as three actors in Q(6) biosynthesis.
Most of the Coq proteins involved in coenzyme Q (ubiquinone or Q) biosynthesis are interdependent within a multiprotein complex in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Lack of only one Coq polypeptide, as in ?coq strains, results in the degradation of several Coq proteins. Consequently, ?coq strains accumulate the same early intermediate of the Q(6) biosynthetic pathway; this intermediate is therefore not informative about the deficient biosynthetic step in a particular ?coq strain. In this work, we report that the overexpression of the protein Coq8 in ?coq strains restores steady state levels of the unstable Coq proteins. Coq8 has been proposed to be a kinase, and we provide evidence that the kinase activity is essential for the stabilizing effect of Coq8 in the ?coq strains. This stabilization results in the accumulation of several novel Q(6) biosynthetic intermediates. These Q intermediates identify chemical steps impaired in cells lacking Coq4 and Coq9 polypeptides, for which no function has been established to date. Several of the new intermediates contain a C4-amine and provide information on the deamination reaction that takes place when para-aminobenzoic acid is used as a ring precursor of Q(6). Finally, we used synthetic analogues of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid to bypass deficient biosynthetic steps, and we show here that 2,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid is able to restore Q(6) biosynthesis and respiratory growth in a ?coq7 strain overexpressing Coq8. The overexpression of Coq8 and the use of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid analogues represent innovative tools to elucidate the Q biosynthetic pathway.
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