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Annu Rev Biochem. 2010;79:507-36. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.030508.152103.

Hydrogenases from methanogenic archaea, nickel, a novel cofactor, and H2 storage.

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1
Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, D-35043 Marburg, Germany. thauer@mpi-marburg.mpg.de

Abstract

Most methanogenic archaea reduce CO(2) with H(2) to CH(4). For the activation of H(2), they use different [NiFe]-hydrogenases, namely energy-converting [NiFe]-hydrogenases, heterodisulfide reductase-associated [NiFe]-hydrogenase or methanophenazine-reducing [NiFe]-hydrogenase, and F(420)-reducing [NiFe]-hydrogenase. The energy-converting [NiFe]-hydrogenases are phylogenetically related to complex I of the respiratory chain. Under conditions of nickel limitation, some methanogens synthesize a nickel-independent [Fe]-hydrogenase (instead of F(420)-reducing [NiFe]-hydrogenase) and by that reduce their nickel requirement. The [Fe]-hydrogenase harbors a unique iron-guanylylpyridinol cofactor (FeGP cofactor), in which a low-spin iron is ligated by two CO, one C(O)CH(2)-, one S-CH(2)-, and a sp(2)-hybridized pyridinol nitrogen. Ligation of the iron is thus similar to that of the low-spin iron in the binuclear active-site metal center of [NiFe]- and [FeFe]-hydrogenases. Putative genes for the synthesis of the FeGP cofactor have been identified. The formation of methane from 4 H(2) and CO(2) catalyzed by methanogenic archaea is being discussed as an efficient means to store H(2).

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