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Structure and Function of [NiFe]-Hydrogenases

[NiFe(Se)]-hydrogenases are hetero-dimeric enzymes present in many microorganisms where they catalyze the oxidation of molecular hydrogen or the reduction of protons. Like the other two types of hydrogen-metabolizing enzymes, the [FeFe]- and [Fe]-hydrogenases, [NiFe]-hydrogenases have a Fe(CO)x unit in their active sites that is most likely involved in hydride binding. Because of their complexity, hydrogenases require a maturation machinery that involves several gene products. They include nickel and iron transport, synthesis of CN (and maybe CO), formation and insertion of a FeCO(CN)2 unit in the apo form, insertion of nickel and proteolytic cleavage of a C-terminal stretch, a step that ends the maturation process. Because the active site is buried in the structure, electron and proton transfer are required between this site and the molecular surface. The former is mediated by either three or one Fe/S cluster(s) depending on the enzyme. When exposed to oxidizing conditions, such as the presence of O2, [NiFe]-hydrogenases are inactivated. Depending on the redox state of the enzyme, exposure to oxygen results in either a partially reduced oxo species probably a (hydro)peroxo ligand between nickel and iron or a more reduced OH ligand instead. Under some conditions the thiolates that coordinate the NiFe center can be modified to sulfenates. Understanding this process is of biotechnological interest for H2 production by photosynthetic organisms.

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04 Feb 2009
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From the book series:
Metal Ions in Life Sciences