Making DNA without iron: induction of a manganese-dependent ribonucleotide reductase in response to iron starvation
Andrews, S. C. (2011) Making DNA without iron: induction of a manganese-dependent ribonucleotide reductase in response to iron starvation. Molecular Microbiolog, 80 (2). pp. 286-289. ISSN 1365-2958
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07594.x
Ribonucleotide reductases supply cells with their deoxyribonucleotides. Three enzyme types are known, classes I, II and III. Class II enzymes are anaerobic whereas class I enzymes are aerobic, and so class I and II enzymes are often produced by the same organism under opposing oxygen regimes. Escherichia coli contains two types of class I enzyme (Ia and Ib) with the Fe-dependent Ia enzyme (NrdAB) performing the major role aerobically, leaving the purpose of the Ib enzyme (NrdEF) unclear. Several papers have recently focused on the class Ib enzymes showing that they are Mn (rather than Fe) dependent and suggesting that the E. coli NrdEF may function under redox-stress conditions. A paper published in this issue of Molecular Microbiology from James Imlay's group confirms that this unexplained NrdEF Ib enzyme is Mn-dependent, but shows that it does not substitute for NrdAB during redox stress. Instead, a role during iron restriction is demonstrated. Thus, the purpose of NrdEF (and possibly other class Ib enzymes) is to enhance growth under aerobic, low-iron conditions, and to functionally replace the Fe-dependent NrdAB when iron is unavailable. This finding reveals a new mechanism by which bacteria adjust to life under iron deprivation.