Modelling NifH2 protein of Clostridium pasteurianum reveals clues about its physiological function

Kasap M.

JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR GRAPHICS & MODELLING, vol.25, no.3, pp.304-312, 2006 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Clostridium pasteurianum is an anaerobic free-living nitrogen fixer. As a unique feature, the organism contains five extra nifH-like genes in addition to nifH1. Detailed analysis with respect to the structure and function of the nifH-like gene products is missing due to the lack of information about the presence of their translation products in the cell. Recent work indicates that the nifH2 gene is transcribed and translated into a polypeptide of expected size in nitrogen-fixing cells of C. pasteurianum and is regulated both at the transcriptional and translational levels. However, the current data do not reveal the physiological function of the NifH2 protein. In this study, we have used computer tools and the NifH1 of C. pasteurianum as the template to predict a possible tertiary structure and assign a putative function for NifH2 protein. A comparison of the structures of the NifH1 and modelled NifH2 revealed similarities in the polypeptide conformations for both monomers. Analysis of the properties of nucleotide binding, dimer interacting and cluster containing regions did not reveal major differences between NifH1 and modelled NifH2, although minor differences were observed. Rigid docking results revealed the possibility of formation of a NifH1-NifH2 heterodimer as well as formation of a NifH2 homodimer. We, therefore, propose that NifH2 can form a dimer with NifH1, albeit less efficiently and may function as a regulatory Fe-protein. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.