Interaction of the Streptomyces Wbl protein WhiD with the principal sigma factor sigmaHrdB depends on the WhiD [4Fe-4S] cluster.
The bacterial protein WhiD belongs to the Wbl family of iron-sulfur [Fe-S] proteins present only in the actinomycetes. In Streptomyces coelicolor, it is required for the late stages of sporulation, but precisely how it functions is unknown. Here, we report results from in vitro and in vivo experiments with WhiD from Streptomyces venezuelae (SvWhiD), which differs from S. coelicolor WhiD (ScWhiD) only at the C terminus. We observed that, like ScWhiD and other Wbl proteins, SvWhiD binds a [4Fe-4S] cluster that is moderately sensitive to O2 and highly sensitive to nitric oxide (NO). However, although all previous studies have reported that Wbl proteins are monomers, we found that SvWhiD exists in a monomer-dimer equilibrium associated with its unusual C-terminal extension. Several Wbl proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are known to interact with its principal sigma factor SigA. Using bacterial two-hybrid, gel filtration, and MS analyses, we demonstrate that SvWhiD interacts with domain 4 of the principal sigma factor of Streptomyces, sHrdB (sHrdB4). Using MS, we determined the dissociation constant (Kd) for the SvWhiD-sHrdB4 complex as ~0.7 µM, consistent with a relatively tight binding interaction. We found that complex formation was cluster dependent and that a reaction with NO, which was complete at 8-10 NO molecules per cluster, resulted in dissociation into the separate proteins. The SvWhiD [4Fe-4S] cluster was significantly less sensitive to reaction with O2 and NO when SvWhiD was bound to sHrdB4, consistent with protection of the cluster in the complex.