The SoxYZ complex carries sulfur cycle intermediates on a peptide swinging arm.
Sauvé V., Bruno S., Berks BC., Hemmings AM.
The bacterial Sox (sulfur oxidizing) system allows the utilization of inorganic sulfur compounds in energy metabolism. Central to this process is the SoxYZ complex that carries the pathway intermediates on a cysteine residue near the C terminus of SoxY. Crystal structures have been determined for Paracoccus pantotrophus SoxYZ with the carrier cysteine in the underivatized state, conjugated to the polysulfide mimic beta-mercaptoethanol, and as the sulfonate adduct pathway intermediate. The carrier cysteine is located on a peptide swinging arm and is bracketed on either side by diglycine dipeptides acting as molecular universal joints. This structure provides a novel solution to the requirement that the cysteine-bound intermediates be able to access and orient themselves within the active sites of multiple partner enzymes. Adjacent to the swinging arm there is a conserved, deep, apolar pocket into which the beta-mercaptoethanol adduct extends. This pocket would be well suited to a role in protecting labile pathway intermediates from adventitious reactions.