EPR and FTIR Analysis of the Mechanism of H2 Activation by [FeFe]-Hydrogenase HydA1 from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

David W. Mulder, Michael W. Ratzloff, Eric M. Shepard, Amanda S. Byer, Seth M. Noone, John W. Peters, Joan B. Broderick, Paul W. King

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76 Scopus Citations


While a general model of H2 activation has been proposed for [FeFe]-hydrogenases, the structural and biophysical properties of the intermediates of the H-cluster catalytic site have not yet been discretely defined. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy were used to characterize the H-cluster catalytic site, a [4Fe-4S]H subcluster linked by a cysteine thiolate to an organometallic diiron subsite with CO, CN, and dithiolate ligands, in [FeFe]-hydrogenase HydA1 from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (CrHydA1). Oxidized CrHydA1 displayed a rhombic 2.1 EPR signal (g = 2.100, 2.039, 1.997) and an FTIR spectrum previously assigned to the oxidized H-cluster (Hox). Reduction of the Hox sample with 100% H2 or sodium dithionite (NaDT) nearly eliminated the 2.1 signal, which coincided with appearance of a broad 2.3-2.07 signal (g = 2.3-2.07, 1.863) and/or a rhombic 2.08 signal (g = 2.077, 1.935, 1.880). Both signals displayed relaxation properties similar to those of [4Fe-4S] clusters and are consistent with an S = 1/2 H-cluster containing a [4Fe-4S]H + subcluster. These EPR signals were correlated with differences in the CO and CN ligand modes in the FTIR spectra of H2- and NaDT-reduced samples compared with Hox. The results indicate that reduction of [4Fe-4S]H from the 2+ state to the 1+ state occurs during both catalytic H2 activation and proton reduction and is accompanied by structural rearrangements of the diiron subsite CO/CN ligand field. Changes in the [4Fe-4S]H oxidation state occur in electron exchange with the diiron subsite during catalysis and mediate electron transfer with either external carriers or accessory FeS clusters.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)6921-6929
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number18
StatePublished - 8 May 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-57594


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