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Published June 2019 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Redox Chemistry in the Genome: Emergence of the [4Fe4S] Cofactor in Repair and Replication


Many DNA-processing enzymes have been shown to contain a [4Fe4S] cluster, a common redox cofactor in biology. Using DNA electrochemistry, we find that binding of the DNA polyanion promotes a negative shift in [4Fe4S] cluster potential, which corresponds thermodynamically to a ∼500-fold increase in DNA-binding affinity for the oxidized [4Fe4S]^(3+) cluster versus the reduced [4Fe4S]^(2+) cluster. This redox switch can be activated from a distance using DNA charge transport (DNA CT) chemistry. DNA-processing proteins containing the [4Fe4S] cluster are enumerated, with possible roles for the redox switch highlighted. A model is described where repair proteins may signal one another using DNA-mediated charge transport as a first step in their search for lesions. The redox switch in eukaryotic DNA primases appears to regulate polymerase handoff, and in DNA polymerase δ, the redox switch provides a means to modulate replication in response to oxidative stress. We thus describe redox signaling interactions of DNA-processing [4Fe4S] enzymes, as well as the most interesting potential players to consider in delineating new DNA-mediated redox signaling networks.

Additional Information

© 2019 by Annual Reviews. We are grateful to the NIH (grant GM126904) for their continued financial support and to our many coworkers and collaborators in elucidating this chemistry. The authors are not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.

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Accepted Version - nihms-1010915.pdf


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