Hydrogenases catalyze the interconversion of protons and hydrogen according to the reversible reaction: 2H + + 2e - H 2 while using only the earth-abundant metals nickel and/or iron for catalysis. Due to their high activity for proton reduction and the technological significance of the H +/H 2 half reaction, it is important to characterize the catalytic activity of [FeFe]-hydrogenases using both biochemical and electrochemical techniques. Following a detailed electrochemical and photoelectrochemical study of an [FeFe]-hydrogenase from Clostridium acetobutylicum (CaHydA), we now report electrochemical and single-molecule imaging studies carried out on a catalytically active hydrogenase preparation. The enzyme CaHydA, a homologue (70% identity) of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase from Clostridium pasteurianum, CpI, was adsorbed to a negatively charged, self-assembled monolayer (SAM) for investigation by electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy (EC-STM) techniques and macroscopic electrochemical measurements. The EC-STM imaging revealed uniform surface coverage with sufficient stability to undergo repeated scanning with a STM tip as well as other electrochemical investigations. Cyclic voltammetry yielded a characteristic cathodic hydrogen production signal when the potential was scanned sufficiently negative. The direct observation of the single enzyme distribution on the Au-SAM surface coupled with macroscopic electrochemical measurements obtained from the same electrode allowed the evaluation of a turnover frequency (TOF) as a function of potential for single [FeFe]-hydrogenase molecules.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry