Bacterial Approaches for Assembling Iron-Sulfur Proteins

Karla Esquilin-Lebron, Sarah Dubrac, Frédéric Barras, Jeffrey M. Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Building iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters and assembling Fe-S proteins are essential actions for life on Earth. The three processes that sustain life, photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, and respiration, require Fe-S proteins. Genes coding for Fe-S proteins can be found in nearly every sequenced genome. Fe-S proteins have a wide variety of functions, and therefore, defective assembly of Fe-S proteins results in cell death or global metabolic defects. Compared to alternative essential cellular processes, there is less known about Fe-S cluster synthesis and Fe-S protein maturation. Moreover, new factors involved in Fe-S protein assembly continue to be discovered. These facts highlight the growing need to develop a deeper biological understanding of Fe-S cluster synthesis, holo-protein maturation, and Fe-S cluster repair. Here, we outline bacterial strategies used to assemble Fe-S proteins and the genetic regulation of these processes. We focus on recent and relevant findings and discuss future directions, including the proposal of using Fe-S protein assembly as an anti-pathogen target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0242521
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


  • Bacteria
  • Genetic regulation
  • ISC
  • Iron
  • Iron regulation
  • Iron utilization
  • Iron-sulfur cluster
  • Metalloproteins
  • Metalloregulation
  • NIF
  • SUF
  • Sulfide
  • Sulfur


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