Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry Reveals Unique Conformational and Chemical Transformations Occurring upon [4Fe-4S] Cluster Binding in the Type 2 L-Serine Dehydratase from Legionella pneumophila.

PMID 26266572


The type 2 L-serine dehydratase from Legionella pneumophila (lpLSD) contains a [4Fe-4S](2+) cluster that acts as a Lewis acid to extract the hydroxyl group of L-serine during the dehydration reaction. Surprisingly, the crystal structure shows that all four of the iron atoms in the cluster are coordinated with protein cysteinyl residues and that the cluster is buried and not exposed to solvent. If the crystal structure of lpLSD accurately reflects the structure in solution, then substantial rearrangement at the active site is necessary for the substrate to enter. Furthermore, repair of the oxidized protein when the cluster has degraded would presumably entail exposure of the buried cysteine ligands. Thus, the conformation required for the substrate to enter may be similar to those required for a new cluster to enter the active site. To address this, hydrogen-deuterium exchange combined with mass spectrometry (HDX MS) was used to probe the conformational changes that occur upon oxidative degradation of the Fe-S cluster. The regions that show the most significant differential HDX are adjacent to the cluster location in the holoenzyme or connect regions that are adjacent to the cluster. The observed decrease in flexibility upon cluster binding provides direct evidence that the "tail-in-mouth" conformation observed in the crystal structure also occurs in solution and that the C-terminal peptide is coordinated to the [4Fe-4S] cluster in a precatalytic conformation. This observation is consistent with the requirement of an activation step prior to catalysis and the unusually high level of resistance to oxygen-induced cluster degradation. Furthermore, peptide mapping of the apo form under nonreducing conditions revealed the formation of disulfide bonds between C396 and C485 and possibly between C343 and C385. These observations provide a picture of how the cluster loci are stabilized and poised to receive the cluster in the apo form and the requirement for a reduction step during cluster formation.