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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2000 Apr;4(2):214-20.

Organometallic iron: the key to biological hydrogen metabolism.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602, USA.


X-ray crystallography of iron-hydrogenases reveals that the active-site H-cluster contains an unmistakably organometallic dinuclear iron subcluster. The nickel-hydrogenases, which in general play different metabolic roles, have a distinct but related active-site structure. The new structural definition, combined with chemical analogs and theoretical treatment, points toward mechanistic understanding of iron-hydrogenases and the possibility of a unified mechanism for all hydrogenases.

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