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ScienceDaily (June 20, 2008) — A Virginia Tech research group lead by two biochemistry graduate students has isolated proteins responsible for the iron-sulfur cluster assembly process and witnessed the necessary protein interactions in vivo -- within a cell. They have captured pathway intermediates and observed protein interactions between the two major players in iron-sulfur cluster assembly.
Iron-sulfur clusters are critical to life on earth. They are necessary for protein function in cellular processes, such as respiration in humans and other organisms and photosynthesis by plants. "But we do not understand how Fe-S molecules are made or the specifics of how they bond," said Callie Raulfs of Christiansburg, Va. "It does not happen spontaneously. It has to be regulated."