Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Bacteriol. 2009 Jul;191(13):4451-7. doi: 10.1128/JB.01582-08. Epub 2009 May 1.

The iron-hydrogenase of Thermotoga maritima utilizes ferredoxin and NADH synergistically: a new perspective on anaerobic hydrogen production.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-7229, USA.


The hyperthermophilic and anaerobic bacterium Thermotoga maritima ferments a wide variety of carbohydrates, producing acetate, CO(2), and H(2). Glucose is degraded through a classical Embden-Meyerhof pathway, and both NADH and reduced ferredoxin are generated. The oxidation of these electron carriers must be coupled to H(2) production, but the mechanism by which this occurs is unknown. The trimeric [FeFe]-type hydrogenase that was previously purified from T. maritima does not use either reduced ferredoxin or NADH as a sole electron donor. This problem has now been resolved by the demonstration that this hydrogenase requires the presence of both electron carriers for catalysis of H(2) production. The enzyme oxidizes NADH and ferredoxin simultaneously in an approximately 1:1 ratio and in a synergistic fashion to produce H(2). It is proposed that the enzyme represents a new class of bifurcating [FeFe] hydrogenase in which the exergonic oxidation of ferredoxin (midpoint potential, -453 mV) is used to drive the unfavorable oxidation of NADH (E(0)' = -320 mV) to produce H(2) (E(0)' = -420 mV). From genome sequence analysis, it is now clear that there are two major types of [FeFe] hydrogenases: the trimeric bifurcating enzyme and the more well-studied monomeric ferredoxin-dependent [FeFe] hydrogenase. Almost one-third of the known H(2)-producing anaerobes appear to contain homologs of the trimeric bifurcating enzyme, although many of them also harbor one or more homologs of the simpler ferredoxin-dependent hydrogenase. The discovery of the bifurcating hydrogenase gives a new perspective on our understanding of the bioenergetics and mechanism of H(2) production and of anaerobic metabolism in general.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center