MMS19 Links Cytoplasmic Iron-Sulfur Cluster Assembly to DNA Metabolism

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Science  13 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6091, pp. 243-245
DOI: 10.1126/science.1219664

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MMS19 Joins the CIA

Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) proteins play a critical role in cell metabolism and particularly in DNA repair and replication. Mutants in eukaryotic gene MMS19 are particularly sensitive to DNA damaging agents, suggesting that it is involved in DNA repair, but the mutations can also have other wide-ranging effects on the cell (see the Perspective by Gottschling). Now, Stehling et al. (p. 195, published online 7 June) and Gari et al. (p. 243, published online 7 June) show that in both yeast and humans, MMS19 functions as part of the cytosolic Fe-S protein assembly (CIA) machinery. The MMS19 is part of a specialized CIA targeting complex that plays a role late in cytosolic Fe-S protein assembly to direct Fe-S cluster transfer from the CIA scaffold complex to a subset of Fe-S proteins, including a number associated with DNA metabolism.


The function of many DNA metabolism proteins depends on their ability to coordinate an iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster. Biogenesis of Fe-S proteins is a multistep process that takes place in mitochondria and the cytoplasm, but how it is linked to nuclear Fe-S proteins is not known. Here, we demonstrate that MMS19 forms a complex with the cytoplasmic Fe-S assembly (CIA) proteins CIAO1, IOP1, and MIP18. Cytoplasmic MMS19 also binds to multiple nuclear Fe-S proteins involved in DNA metabolism. In the absence of MMS19, a failure to transfer Fe-S clusters to target proteins is associated with Fe-S protein instability and preimplantation death of mice in which Mms19 has been knocked out. We propose that MMS19 functions as a platform to facilitate Fe-S cluster transfer to proteins critical for DNA replication and repair.

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