Abc, abce1, rli1, atpase, ribosome biogenesis, ribosome maturation, ribosome recycling, translation


The growth and survival of all cells require functional ribosomes that are capable of protein synthesis. The disruption of the steps required for the function of ribosomes represents a potential future target for pharmacological anti-cancer therapy. ABCE1 is an essential Fe-S protein involved in ribosomal function and is vital for protein synthesis and cell survival. Thus, ABCE1 is potentially a great therapeutic target for cancer treatment. Previously, cell biological, genetic, and structural studies uncovered the general importance of ABCE1, although the exact function of the Fe-S clusters was previously unclear, only a simple structural role was suggested. Additionally, due to the essential nature of ABCE1, its function in ribosome biogenesis, ribosome recycling, and the presence of Fe-S within ABCE1, the protein has been hypothesized to be a target for oxidative degradation by ROS and critically impact cellular function. In an effort to better understand the function of ABCE1 and its associated Fe-S cofactors, the goal of this research was to achieve a better biochemical understanding of the Fe-S clusters of ABCE1. The kinetics of the ATPase activity for the Pyrococcus abyssi ABCE1 (PabABCE1) was studied using both apo- (without reconstituted Fe-S clusters) and holo- (with full complement of Fe-S clusters reconstituted post-purification) forms, and is shown to be jointly regulated by the status of Fe-S clusters and Mg2+. Typically, ATPases require Mg2+, as is true for PabABCE1, but Mg2+ also acts as a unusual negative allosteric effector that modulates ATP affinity of PabABCE1. Comparative kinetic analysis of Mg2+ inhibition shows differences in the degree of allosteric regulation between the apo- and holo-PabABCE1 where the apparent Km for ATP of apo- iv PabABCE1 increases >30 fold from ~30 µM to over 1 mM when in the presence of physiologically relevant concentrations of Mg2+. This effect would significantly convert the ATPase activity of PabABCE1 from being independent of cellular energy charge () to being dependent on  with cellular [Mg2+]. The effect of ROS on the Fe-S clusters within ABCE1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae was studied by in vivo 55Fe labeling. A dose and time dependent depletion of ABCE1 bound 55Fe after exposure to H2O2 was discovered, suggesting the progressive degradation of Fe-S clusters under oxidative stress conditions. Furthermore, our experiments show growth recovery, upon removal of the H2O2, reaching a growth rate close to that of untreated cells after ~8 hrs. Additionally, a corresponding increase (~88% recovery) in the ABCE1 bound 55Fe (Fe-S) was demonstrated. Observations presented in this work demonstrate that the majority of growth inhibition, induced by oxidative stress, can be explained by a comparable decrease in ABCE1 bound 55Fe and likely loss of ABCE1 activity that is necessary for normal ribosomal activity. The regulatory roles of the Fe-S clusters with ABCE1 provide the cell a way to modulate the activity of ABCE1 and effectively regulate translation based on both cellular energy charge and the redox state of the cell. Intricate overlapping effects by both [Mg2+] and the status of Fe-S clusters regulate ABCE1’s ATPase activity and suggest a regulatory mechanism, where under oxidative stress conditions, the translational activity of ABCE1 can be inhibited by oxidative degradation of the Fe-S clusters. These findings uncover the regulatory function of the Fe-S clusters with v ABCE1, providing important clues needed for the development of pharmacological agents toward ABCE1 targeted anti-cancer therapy.


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Graduation Date





Igarashi, Robert


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences








Release Date

December 2012

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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Biology Commons