Crystal structure of a sulfur carrier protein complex found in the cysteine biosynthetic pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Academic Article uri icon


  • The structure of the protein complex CysM-CysO from a new cysteine biosynthetic pathway found in the H37Rv strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been determined at 1.53 A resolution. CysM (Rv1336) is a PLP-containing beta-replacement enzyme and CysO (Rv1335) is a sulfur carrier protein with a ubiquitin-like fold. CysM catalyzes the replacement of the acetyl group of O-acetylserine by CysO thiocarboxylate to generate a protein-bound cysteine that is released in a subsequent proteolysis reaction. The protein complex in the crystal structure is asymmetric with one CysO protomer binding to one end of a CysM dimer. Additionally, the structures of CysM and CysO were determined individually at 2.8 and 2.7 A resolution, respectively. Sequence alignments with homologues and structural comparisons with CysK, a cysteine synthase that does not utilize a sulfur carrier protein, revealed high conservation of active site residues; however, residues in CysM responsible for CysO binding are not conserved. Comparison of the CysM-CysO binding interface with other sulfur carrier protein complexes revealed a similarity in secondary structural elements that contribute to complex formation in the ThiF-ThiS and MoeB-MoaD systems, despite major differences in overall folds. Comparison of CysM with and without bound CysO revealed conformational changes associated with CysO binding.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Jurgenson, C. T., Burns, K. E., Begley, T. P., & Ealick, S. E.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Jurgenson, Christopher T||Burns, Kristin E||Begley, Tadhg P||Ealick, Steven E

publication date

  • September 2008