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Issue 39, 2019
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Understanding the structure and dynamics of hydrogenases by ultrafast and two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy

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Abstract

Hydrogenases are valuable model enzymes for sustainable energy conversion approaches using H2, but rational utilization of these base-metal biocatalysts requires a detailed understanding of the structure and dynamics of their complex active sites. The intrinsic CO and CN ligands of these metalloenzymes represent ideal chromophores for infrared (IR) spectroscopy, but structural and dynamic insight from conventional IR absorption experiments is limited. Here, we apply ultrafast and two-dimensional (2D) IR spectroscopic techniques, for the first time, to study hydrogenases in detail. Using an O2-tolerant [NiFe] hydrogenase as a model system, we demonstrate that IR pump–probe spectroscopy can explore catalytically relevant ligand bonding by accessing high-lying vibrational states. This ultrafast technique also shows that the protein matrix is influential in vibrational relaxation, which may be relevant for energy dissipation from the active site during fast reaction steps. Further insights into the relevance of the active site environment are provided by 2D-IR spectroscopy, which reveals equilibrium dynamics and structural constraints imposed on the H2-accepting intermediate of [NiFe] hydrogenases. Both techniques offer new strategies for uniquely identifying redox-structural states in complex catalytic mixtures via vibrational quantum beats and 2D-IR off-diagonal peaks. Together, these findings considerably expand the scope of IR spectroscopy in hydrogenase research, and new perspectives for the characterization of these enzymes and other (bio-)organometallic targets are presented.

Graphical abstract: Understanding the structure and dynamics of hydrogenases by ultrafast and two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
11 Jun 2019
Accepted
05 Aug 2019
First published
05 Aug 2019

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2019,10, 8981-8989
Article type
Edge Article

Understanding the structure and dynamics of hydrogenases by ultrafast and two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy

M. Horch, J. Schoknecht, S. L. D. Wrathall, G. M. Greetham, O. Lenz and N. T. Hunt, Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 8981
DOI: 10.1039/C9SC02851J

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