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Microbiology. 2004 Jul;150(Pt 7):2451-2463. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.27159-0.

A multisubunit membrane-bound [NiFe] hydrogenase and an NADH-dependent Fe-only hydrogenase in the fermenting bacterium Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis.

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Max-Planck-Institut für terrestrische Mikrobiologie, Karl-von-Frisch-Straße, D-35043 Marburg, Germany.
Biochemisches Institut, Fachbereich Humanmedizin, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Germany.


Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis is a thermophilic Gram-positive bacterium able to dispose of the reducing equivalents generated during the fermentation of glucose to acetate and CO(2) by reducing H(+) to H(2). A unique combination of hydrogenases, a ferredoxin-dependent [NiFe] hydrogenase and an NADH-dependent Fe-only hydrogenase, were found to be responsible for H(2) formation in this organism. Both enzymes were purified and characterized. The tightly membrane-bound [NiFe] hydrogenase belongs to a small group of complex-I-related [NiFe] hydrogenases and has highest sequence similarity to energy-converting [NiFe] hydrogenase (Ech) from Methanosarcina barkeri. A ferredoxin isolated from Ta. tengcongensis was identified as the physiological substrate of this enzyme. The heterotetrameric Fe-only hydrogenase was isolated from the soluble fraction. It contained FMN and multiple iron-sulfur clusters, and exhibited a typical H-cluster EPR signal after autooxidation. Sequence analysis predicted and kinetic studies confirmed that the enzyme is an NAD(H)-dependent Fe-only hydrogenase. When H(2) was allowed to accumulate in the culture, the fermentation was partially shifted to ethanol production. In cells grown at high hydrogen partial pressure [p(H(2))] the NADH-dependent hydrogenase activity was fourfold lower than in cells grown at low p(H(2)), whereas aldehyde dehydrogenase and alcohol dehydrogenase activities were higher in cells grown at elevated p(H(2)). These results indicate a regulation in response to the p(H(2)).

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