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Biochemistry. 2015 Mar 10;54(9):1807-18. doi: 10.1021/bi501205e. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

[FeFe]-hydrogenase maturation: insights into the role HydE plays in dithiomethylamine biosynthesis.

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Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Montana State University , Bozeman, Montana 59717, United States.


HydE and HydG are radical S-adenosyl-l-methionine enzymes required for the maturation of [FeFe]-hydrogenase (HydA) and produce the nonprotein organic ligands characteristic of its unique catalytic cluster. The catalytic cluster of HydA (the H-cluster) is a typical [4Fe-4S] cubane bridged to a 2Fe-subcluster that contains two carbon monoxides, three cyanides, and a bridging dithiomethylamine as ligands. While recent studies have shed light on the nature of diatomic ligand biosynthesis by HydG, little information exists on the function of HydE. Herein, we present biochemical, spectroscopic, bioinformatic, and molecular modeling data that together map the active site and provide significant insight into the role of HydE in H-cluster biosynthesis. Electron paramagnetic resonance and UV-visible spectroscopic studies demonstrate that reconstituted HydE binds two [4Fe-4S] clusters and copurifies with S-adenosyl-l-methionine. Incorporation of deuterium from D2O into 5'-deoxyadenosine, the cleavage product of S-adenosyl-l-methionine, coupled with molecular docking experiments suggests that the HydE substrate contains a thiol functional group. This information, along with HydE sequence similarity and genome context networks, has allowed us to redefine the presumed mechanism for HydE away from BioB-like sulfur insertion chemistry; these data collectively suggest that the source of the sulfur atoms in the dithiomethylamine bridge of the H-cluster is likely derived from HydE's thiol containing substrate.

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