Biological assembly of iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters is mediated by complex systems consisting of multiple proteins. Escherichia coli possesses two distinct systems called the ISC and SUF machineries encoded by iscSUA-hscBA-fdx-iscX and sufABCDSE respectively. Deletion of both pathways results in absence of the biosynthetic apparatus for Fe-S clusters, and consequent lethality, which has hampered detailed genetic studies. Here we report that modification of the isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway can offset the indispensability of the Fe-S cluster biosynthetic systems and show that the resulting Δisc Δsuf double mutants can grow without detectable Fe-S cluster-containing proteins. We also constructed a series of mutants in which each isc gene was disrupted in the deletion background of sufABCDSE. Phenotypic analysis of the mutants revealed that Fdx, an essential electron-transfer Fe-S protein in the ISC machinery, is dispensable under anaerobic conditions, which is similar to the situation with IscA. Furthermore, we found that several suppressor mutations in IscU, an Fe-S scaffold protein responsible for the de novo Fe-S cluster assembly, could bypass the essential role of the chaperone system HscA and HscB. These findings pave the way toward a detailed molecular analysis to understand the mechanisms involved in Fe-S cluster biosynthesis.