Expression of two [Fe]-Hydrogenases in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under Anaerobic Conditions

Marc Forestier, Paul King, Liping Zhang, Matthew Posewitz, Sarah Schwarzer, Thomas Happe, Maria L. Ghirardi, Michael Seibert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

219 Scopus Citations


We have isolated and characterized a second [Fe]-hydrogenase gene from the green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The HydA2 gene encodes a protein of 505 amino acids that is 74% similar and 68% identical to the known HydA1 hydrogenase from C. reinhardtii, HydA2 contains all the conserved residues and motifs found in the catalytic core of the family of [Fe]-hydrogenases. We demonstrate that both the HydA1 and the HydA2 transcripts are expressed upon anaerobic induction, achieved either by neutral gas purging or by sulfur deprivation of the cultures. Furthermore, the expression levels of both transcripts are regulated (in some cases differently) by incubation conditions, such as the length of anaerobiosis, the readdition of O2, the presence of acetate, and/or the absence of nutrients such as sulfate during growth. Antibodies specific for HydA2 recognized a protein of about 49 kDa in extracts from anaerobically induced C. reinhardtii cells, strongly suggesting that HydA2 encodes for an expressed protein. Homology-based 3D modeling of the HydA2 hydrogenase shows that its catalytic site models well to the known structure of Clostridium pasteurianum CpI, including the H2-gas channel. The major differences between HydA1, HydA2 and CpI are the absence of the N-terminal Fe-S centers and the existence of extra sequences in the algal enzymes. To our knowledge, this work represents the first systematic study of expression of two algal [Fe]-hydrogenases in the same organism.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2750-2758
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2003

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-590-34980


  • Anaerobic induction
  • Gene expression
  • Green algae
  • Hydrogenase
  • Sulfur deprivation


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of two [Fe]-Hydrogenases in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under Anaerobic Conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this