• Chlorobium limicola f. thiosulfatophilum;
  • thiosulfate oxidation;
  • SoxY;
  • crystal structure;
  • sulfur binding


Dissimilatory oxidation of thiosulfate in the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium limicola f. thiosulfatophilum is carried out by the ubiquitous sulfur-oxidizing (Sox) multi-enzyme system. In this system, SoxY plays a key role, functioning as the sulfur substrate-binding protein that offers its sulfur substrate, which is covalently bound to a conserved C-terminal cysteine, to another oxidizing Sox enzyme. Here, we report the crystal structures of a stand-alone SoxY protein of C. limicola f. thiosulfatophilum, solved at 2.15 Å and 2.40 Å resolution using X-ray diffraction data collected at 100 K and room temperature, respectively. The structure reveals a monomeric Ig-like protein, with an N-terminal α-helix, that oligomerizes into a tetramer via conserved contact regions between the monomers. The tetramer can be described as a dimer of dimers that exhibits one large hydrophobic contact region in each dimer and two small hydrophilic interface patches in the tetramer. At the tetramer interface patch, two conserved redox-active C-terminal cysteines form an intersubunit disulfide bridge. Intriguingly, SoxY exhibits a dimer/tetramer equilibrium that is dependent on the redox state of the cysteines and on the type of sulfur substrate component bound to them. Taken together, the dimer/tetramer equilibrium, the specific interactions between the subunits in the tetramer, and the significant conservation level of the interfaces strongly indicate that these SoxY oligomers are biologically relevant.