Characterization of the NifS-like domain of ABA3 from Arabidopsis thaliana provides insight into the mechanism of molybdenum cofactor sulfuration

The Journal of Biological Chemistry
Torsten HeidenreichFlorian Bittner


The molybdenum cofactor sulfurase ABA3 from Arabidopsis thaliana specifically regulates the activity of the molybdenum enzymes aldehyde oxidase and xanthine dehydrogenase by converting their molybdenum cofactor from the desulfo-form into the sulfo-form. ABA3 is a two-domain protein with an NH2-terminal domain sharing significant similarities to NifS proteins that catalyze the decomposition of l-cysteine to l-alanine and elemental sulfur for iron-sulfur cluster synthesis. Although different in its physiological function, the mechanism of ABA3 for sulfur mobilization was found to be similar to NifS proteins. The protein binds a pyridoxal phosphate cofactor and a substrate-derived persulfide intermediate, and site-directed mutagenesis of strictly conserved binding sites for the cofactor and the persulfide demonstrated that they are essential for molybdenum cofactor sulfurase activity. In vitro, the NifS-like domain of ABA3 activates aldehyde oxidase and xanthine dehydrogenase in the absence of the C-terminal domain, but in vivo, the C-terminal domain is required for proper activation of both target enzymes. In addition to its cysteine desulfurase activity, ABA3-NifS also exhibits selenocysteine lyase activity. Although l-selenocys...Continue Reading


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