Published on April 1, 2006 in J Bacteriol volume 188.
PubMed ID: 16585765
The cysteine desulfurase IscS in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is required for the formation of all four thiolated nucleosides in tRNA, which is thought to occur via two principally different biosynthetic pathways. The synthesis of 4-thiouridine (s(4)U) and 5-methylaminomethyl-2-thiouridine (mnm(5)s(2)U) occurs by a transfer of sulfur from IscS via various proteins to the target nucleoside in the tRNA, and no iron-sulfur cluster protein participates, whereas the synthesis of 2-thiocytidine (s(2)C) and N(6)-(4-hydroxyisopentenyl)-2-methylthioadenosine (ms(2)io(6)A) is dependent on iron-sulfur cluster proteins, whose formation and maintenance depend on IscS. Accordingly, inactivation of IscS should result in decreased synthesis of all thiolated nucleosides. We selected mutants defective either in the synthesis of a thiolated nucleoside (mnm(5)s(2)U) specific for the iron-sulfur protein-independent pathway or in the synthesis of a thiolated nucleoside (ms(2)io(6)A) specific for the iron-sulfur protein-dependent pathway. Although we found altered forms of IscS that influenced the synthesis of all thiolated nucleosides, consistent with the model, we also found mutants defective in subsets of thiolated nucleosides. Alterations in the C-terminal region of IscS reduced the level of only ms(2)io(6)A, suggesting that the synthesis of this nucleoside is especially sensitive to minor aberrations in iron-sulfur cluster transfer activity. Our results suggest that IscS has an intrinsic substrate specificity in how it mediates sulfur mobilization and/or iron-sulfur cluster formation and maintenance required for thiolation of tRNA.