Hydrogenases display a wide range of catalytic rates and biases in reversible hydrogen gas oxidation catalysis. The interactions of the iron-sulfur-containing catalytic site with the local protein environment are thought to contribute to differences in catalytic reactivity, but this has not been demonstrated. The microbe Clostridium pasteurianum produces three [FeFe]-hydrogenases that differ in "catalytic bias" by exerting a disproportionate rate acceleration in one direction or the other that spans a remarkable 6 orders of magnitude. The combination of high-resolution structural work, biochemical analyses, and computational modeling indicates that protein secondary interactions directly influence the relative stabilization/destabilization of different oxidation states of the active site metal cluster. This selective stabilization or destabilization of oxidation states can preferentially promote hydrogen oxidation or proton reduction and represents a simple yet elegant model by which a protein catalytic site can confer catalytic bias.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry