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Members of the ferric/zinc uptake regulator (Fur/Zur) family are the central metal-dependent regulator proteins in many Gram-negative and -positive bacteria. They are responsible for the control of a wide variety of basic physiological processes and the expression of important virulence factors in human pathogens. Therefore, Fur has gathered significant interest as a potential target for novel antibiotics. Here we report the crystal structure of FurB from Mycobacterium tuberculosis at a resolution of 2.7A, and we present biochemical and spectroscopic data that allow us to propose the functional role of this protein. Although the overall fold of FurB with an N-terminal DNA binding domain and a C-terminal dimerization domain is conserved among the Zur/Fur family, large differences in the spatial arrangement of the two domains with respect to each other can be observed. The biochemical and spectroscopic analysis presented here reveals that M. tuberculosis FurB is Zn(II)-dependent and is likely to control genes involved in the bacterial zinc uptake. The combination of the structural, spectroscopic, and biochemical results enables us to determine the structural basis for functional differences in this important family of bacterial regulators.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





9914 - 9922


Bacterial Proteins, Crystallization, Crystallography, X-Ray, DNA-Binding Proteins, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Zinc