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J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Oct 29;125(43):13075-83.

Direct detection of a hydrogen ligand in the [NiFe] center of the regulatory H2-sensing hydrogenase from Ralstonia eutropha in its reduced state by HYSCORE and ENDOR spectroscopy.

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  • 1Max-Volmer-Laboratorium für Biophysikalische Chemie, Fakultät für Mathematik und Naturwissenschaften, Technische Universität Berlin, D-10623 Berlin, Germany.


The regulatory H2-sensing [NiFe] hydrogenase of the beta-proteobacterium Ralstonia eutropha displays an Ni-C "active" state after reduction with H2 that is very similar to the reduced Ni-C state of standard [NiFe] hydrogenases. Pulse electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) and four-pulse ESEEM (hyperfine sublevel correlation, HYSCORE) spectroscopy are applied to obtain structural information on this state via detection of the electron-nuclear hyperfine coupling constants. Two proton hyperfine couplings are determined by analysis of ENDOR spectra recorded over the full magnetic field range of the EPR spectrum. These are associated with nonexchangeable protons and belong to the beta-CH(2) protons of a bridging cysteine of the NiFe center. The signals of a third proton exhibit a large anisotropic coupling (Ax = 18.4 MHz, Ay = -10.8 MHz, Az = -18 MHz). They disappear from the 1H region of the ENDOR spectra after exchange of H2O with 2H2O and activation with 2H2 instead of H2 gas. They reappear in the 2H region of the ENDOR and HYSCORE spectra. Based on a comparison with the spectroscopically similar [NiFe] hydrogenase of Desulfovibrio vulgaris Miyazaki F, for which the g-tensor orientation of the Ni-C state with respect to the crystal structure is known (Foerster et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 83-93), an assignment of the 1H hyperfine couplings is proposed. The exchangeable proton resides in a bridging position between the Ni and Fe and is assigned to a formal hydride ion. After illumination at low temperature (T = 10 K), the Ni-L state is formed. For the Ni-L state, the strong hyperfine coupling observed for the exchangeable hydrogen in Ni-C is lost, indicating a cleavage of the metal-hydride bond(s). These experiments give first direct information on the position of hydrogen binding in the active NiFe center of the regulatory hydrogenase. It is proposed that such a binding situation is also present in the active Ni-C state of standard hydrogenases.

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