Carbon Monoxide and Cyanide Ligands in the Active Site of [FeFe]-Hydrogenases
The [FeFe]-hydrogenases, although share common features when compared to other metal containing hydrogenases, clearly have independent evolutionary origins. Examples of [FeFe]-hydrogenases have been characterized in detail by biochemical and spectroscopic approaches and the high resolution structures of two examples have been determined. The active site H-cluster is a complex bridged metal assembly in which a [4Fe-4S] cubane is bridged to a 2Fe subcluster with unique non-protein ligands including carbon monoxide, cyanide, and a five carbon dithiolate. Carbon monoxide and cyanide ligands as a component of a native active metal center is a property unique to the metal containing hydrogenases and there has been considerable attention to the characterization of the H-cluster at the level of electronic structure and mechanism as well as to defining the biological means to synthesize such a unique metal cluster. The chapter describes the structural architecture of [FeFe]-hydrogenases and key spectroscopic observations that have afforded the field with a fundamental basis for understanding the relationship between structure and reactivity of the H-cluster. In addition, the results and ideas concerning the topic of H-cluster biosynthesis as an emerging and fascinating area of research, effectively reinforcing the potential linkage between iron-sulfur biochemistry to the role of iron-sulfur minerals in prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life.