Structure and molecular evolution of CDGSH iron-sulfur domains

Jinzhong Lin, Liman Zhang, Shaomei Lai, Keqiong Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The recently discovered CDGSH iron-sulfur domains (CISDs) are classified into seven major types with a wide distribution throughout the three domains of life. The type 1 protein mitoNEET has been shown to fold into a dimer with the signature CDGSH motif binding to a [2Fe-2S] cluster. However, the structures of all other types of CISDs were unknown. Here we report the crystal structures of type 3, 4, and 6 CISDs determined at 1.5 Å, 1.8 Å and 1.15 Å resolution, respectively. The type 3 and 4 CISD each contain one CDGSH motif and adopt a dimeric structure. Although similar to each other, the two structures have permutated topologies, and both are distinct from the type 1 structure. The type 6 CISD contains tandem CDGSH motifs and adopts a monomeric structure with an internal pseudo dyad symmetry. All currently known CISD structures share dual iron-sulfur binding modules and a β-sandwich for either intermolecular or intramolecular dimerization. The iron-sulfur binding module, the β-strand N-terminal to the module and a proline motif are conserved among different type structures, but the dimerization module and the interface and orientation between the two iron-sulfur binding modules are divergent. Sequence analysis further shows resemblance between CISD types 4 and 7 and between 1 and 2. Our findings suggest that all CISDs share common ancestry and diverged into three primary folds with a characteristic phylogenetic distribution: a eukaryote-specific fold adopted by types 1 and 2 proteins, a prokaryote-specific fold adopted by types 3, 4 and 7 proteins, and a tandem-motif fold adopted by types 5 and 6 proteins. Our comprehensive structural, sequential and phylogenetic analysis provides significant insight into the assembly principles and evolutionary relationship of CISDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere24790
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 16 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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