Published on Nov. 1, 2012 in J Biol Chem volume 287.
PubMed ID: 23043105
Wybutosine and its derivatives are found in position 37 of tRNA encoding Phe in eukaryotes and archaea. They are believed to play a key role in the decoding function of the ribosome. The second step in the biosynthesis of wybutosine is catalyzed by TYW1 protein, which is a member of the well established class of metalloenzymes called "Radical-SAM." These enzymes use a [4Fe-4S] cluster, chelated by three cysteines in a CX(3)CX(2)C motif, and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) to generate a 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical that initiates various chemically challenging reactions. Sequence analysis of TYW1 proteins revealed, in the N-terminal half of the enzyme beside the Radical-SAM cysteine triad, an additional highly conserved cysteine motif. In this study we show by combining analytical and spectroscopic methods including UV-visible absorption, Mossbauer, EPR, and HYSCORE spectroscopies that these additional cysteines are involved in the coordination of a second [4Fe-4S] cluster displaying a free coordination site that interacts with pyruvate, the second substrate of the reaction. The presence of two distinct iron-sulfur clusters on TYW1 is reminiscent of MiaB, another tRNA-modifying metalloenzyme whose active form was shown to bind two iron-sulfur clusters. A possible role for the second [4Fe-4S] cluster in the enzyme activity is discussed.