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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Jan 13;417(2):704-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.12.002. Epub 2011 Dec 8.

Genetic disruption of both Chlamydomonas reinhardtii [FeFe]-hydrogenases: Insight into the role of HYDA2 in H₂ production.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA.


Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Chlamydomonas throughout) encodes two [FeFe]-hydrogenases, designated HYDA1 and HYDA2. While HYDA1 is considered the dominant hydrogenase, the role of HYDA2 is unclear. To study the individual functions of each hydrogenase and provide a platform for future bioengineering, we isolated the Chlamydomonas hydA1-1, hydA2-1 single mutants and the hydA1-1 hydA2-1 double mutant. A reverse genetic screen was used to identify a mutant with an insertion in HYDA2, followed by mutagenesis of the hydA2-1 strain coupled with a H(2) chemosensor phenotypic screen to isolate the hydA1-1 hydA2-1 mutant. Genetic crosses of the hydA1-1 hydA2-1 mutant to wild-type cells allowed us to also isolate the single hydA1-1 mutant. Fermentative, photosynthetic, and in vitro hydrogenase activities were assayed in each of the mutant genotypes. Surprisingly, analyses of the hydA1-1 and hydA2-1 single mutants, as well as the HYDA1 and HYDA2 rescued hydA1-1 hydA2-1 mutant demonstrated that both hydrogenases are able to catalyze H(2) production from either fermentative or photosynthetic pathways. The physiology of both mutant and complemented strains indicate that the contribution of HYDA2 to H(2) photoproduction is approximately 25% that of HYDA1, which corresponds to similarly low levels of in vitro hydrogenase activity measured in the hydA1-1 mutant. Interestingly, enhanced in vitro and fermentative H(2) production activities were observed in the hydA1-1 hydA2-1 strain complemented with HYDA1, while maximal H(2)-photoproduction rates did not exceed those of wild-type cells.

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