Identification of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase responsible for hydrogen generation in Thermoanaerobacterium saccharolyticum and demonstration of increased ethanol yield via hydrogenase knockout.
ABSTRACT: Three putative hydrogenase enzyme systems in Thermoanaerobacterium saccharolyticum were investigated at the genetic, mRNA, enzymatic, and phenotypic levels. A four-gene operon containing two [FeFe]-hydrogenase genes, provisionally termed hfs (hydrogenase-Fe-S), was found to be the main enzymatic catalyst of hydrogen production. hfsB, perhaps the most interesting gene of the operon, contains an [FeFe]-hydrogenase and a PAS sensory domain and has several conserved homologues among clostridial saccharolytic, cellulolytic, and pathogenic bacteria. A second hydrogenase gene cluster, hyd, exhibited methyl viologen-linked hydrogenase enzymatic activity, but hyd gene knockouts did not influence the hydrogen yield of cultures grown in closed-system batch fermentations. This result, combined with the observation that hydB contains NAD(P)+ and FMN binding sites, suggests that the hyd genes are specific to the transfer of electrons from NAD(P)H to hydrogen ions. A third gene cluster, a putative [NiFe]-hydrogenase with homology to the ech genes, did not exhibit hydrogenase activity under any of the conditions tested. Deletion of the hfs and hydA genes resulted in a loss of detectable methyl viologen-linked hydrogenase activity. Strains with a deletion of the hfs genes exhibited a 95% reduction in hydrogen and acetic acid production. A strain with hfs and ldh deletions exhibited an increased ethanol yield from consumed carbohydrates and represents a new strategy for engineering increased ethanol yields in T. saccharolyticum.
Project description:Escherichia coli uptake hydrogenase 2 (Hyd-2) catalyzes the reversible oxidation of H2 to protons and electrons. Hyd-2 synthesis is strongly upregulated during growth on glycerol or on glycerol-fumarate. Membrane-associated Hyd-2 is an unusual heterotetrameric [NiFe]-hydrogenase that lacks a typical cytochrome b membrane anchor subunit, which transfers electrons to the quinone pool. Instead, Hyd-2 has an additional electron transfer subunit, termed HybA, with four predicted iron-sulfur clusters. Here, we examined the physiological role of the HybA subunit. During respiratory growth with glycerol and fumarate, Hyd-2 used menaquinone/demethylmenaquinone (MQ/DMQ) to couple hydrogen oxidation to fumarate reduction. HybA was essential for electron transfer from Hyd-2 to MQ/DMQ. H2 evolution catalyzed by Hyd-2 during fermentation of glycerol in the presence of Casamino Acids or in a fumarate reductase-negative strain growing with glycerol-fumarate was also shown to be dependent on both HybA and MQ/DMQ. The uncoupler carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP) inhibited Hyd-2-dependent H2 evolution from glycerol, indicating the requirement for a proton gradient. In contrast, CCCP failed to inhibit H2-coupled fumarate reduction. Although a Hyd-2 enzyme lacking HybA could not catalyze Hyd-2-dependent H2 oxidation or H2 evolution in whole cells, reversible H2-dependent reduction of viologen dyes still occurred. Finally, hydrogen-dependent dye reduction by Hyd-2 was reversibly inhibited in extracts derived from cells grown in H2 evolution mode. Our findings suggest that Hyd-2 switches between H2-consuming and H2-producing modes in response to the redox status of the quinone pool. Hyd-2-dependent H2 evolution from glycerol requires reverse electron transport.
Project description:Syntrophomonas wolfei syntrophically oxidizes short-chain fatty acids (four to eight carbons in length) when grown in coculture with a hydrogen- and/or formate-using methanogen. The oxidation of 3-hydroxybutyryl-coenzyme A (CoA), formed during butyrate metabolism, results in the production of NADH. The enzyme systems involved in NADH reoxidation in S. wolfei are not well understood. The genome of S. wolfei contains a multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase that may be a mechanism for NADH reoxidation. The S. wolfei genes for the multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase (hyd1ABC; SWOL_RS05165, SWOL_RS05170, SWOL_RS05175) and [FeFe]-hydrogenase maturation proteins (SWOL_RS05180, SWOL_RS05190, SWOL_RS01625) were coexpressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant Hyd1ABC was purified and characterized. The purified recombinant Hyd1ABC was a heterotrimer with an ??? configuration and a molecular mass of 115 kDa. Hyd1ABC contained 29.2 ± 1.49 mol of Fe and 0.7 mol of flavin mononucleotide (FMN) per mole enzyme. The purified, recombinant Hyd1ABC reduced NAD+ and oxidized NADH without the presence of ferredoxin. The HydB subunit of the S. wolfei multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase lacks two iron-sulfur centers that are present in known confurcating NADH- and ferredoxin-dependent [FeFe]-hydrogenases. Hyd1ABC is a NADH-dependent hydrogenase that produces hydrogen from NADH without the need of reduced ferredoxin, which differs from confurcating [FeFe]-hydrogenases. Hyd1ABC provides a mechanism by which S. wolfei can reoxidize NADH produced during syntrophic butyrate oxidation when low hydrogen partial pressures are maintained by a hydrogen-consuming microorganism.IMPORTANCE Our work provides mechanistic understanding of the obligate metabolic coupling that occurs between hydrogen-producing fatty and aromatic acid-degrading microorganisms and their hydrogen-consuming partners in the process called syntrophy (feeding together). The multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase used NADH without the involvement of reduced ferredoxin. The multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase would produce hydrogen from NADH only when hydrogen concentrations were low. Hydrogen production from NADH by Syntrophomonas wolfei would likely cease before any detectable amount of cell growth occurred. Thus, continual hydrogen production requires the presence of a hydrogen-consuming partner to keep hydrogen concentrations low and explains, in part, the obligate requirement that S. wolfei has for a hydrogen-consuming partner organism during growth on butyrate. We have successfully expressed genes encoding a multimeric [FeFe]-hydrogenase in E. coli, demonstrating that such an approach can be advantageous to characterize complex redox proteins from difficult-to-culture microorganisms.
Project description:Maturation of [FeFe] hydrogenases requires the biosynthesis and insertion of the catalytic iron-sulfur cluster, the H cluster. Two radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) proteins proposed to function in H cluster biosynthesis, HydEF and HydG, were recently identified in the hydEF-1 mutant of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (M. C. Posewitz, P. W. King, S. L. Smolinski, L. Zhang, M. Seibert, and M. L. Ghirardi, J. Biol. Chem. 279:25711-25720, 2004). Previous efforts to study [FeFe] hydrogenase maturation in Escherichia coli by coexpression of C. reinhardtii HydEF and HydG and the HydA1 [FeFe] hydrogenase were hindered by instability of the hydEF and hydG expression clones. A more stable [FeFe] hydrogenase expression system has been achieved in E. coli by cloning and coexpression of hydE, hydF, and hydG from the bacterium Clostridium acetobutylicum. Coexpression of the C. acetobutylicum maturation proteins with various algal and bacterial [FeFe] hydrogenases in E. coli resulted in purified enzymes with specific activities that were similar to those of the enzymes purified from native sources. In the case of structurally complex [FeFe] hydrogenases, maturation of the catalytic sites could occur in the absence of an accessory iron-sulfur cluster domain. Initial investigations of the structure and function of the maturation proteins HydE, HydF, and HydG showed that the highly conserved radical-SAM domains of both HydE and HydG and the GTPase domain of HydF were essential for achieving biosynthesis of active [FeFe] hydrogenases. Together, these results demonstrate that the catalytic domain and a functionally complete set of Hyd maturation proteins are fundamental to achieving biosynthesis of catalytic [FeFe] hydrogenases.
Project description:Developing from certain catalytic processes required for ancient life forms, the H2 processing enzymes [NiFe]- and [FeFe]-hydrogenase (H2ase) have active sites that are organometallic in composition, possessing carbon monoxide and cyanide as ligands. Simple synthetic analogues of the 2Fe portion of the active site of [FeFe]-H2ase have been shown to dock into the empty carrier (maturation) protein, apo-Hyd-F, via the bridging ability of a terminal cyanide ligand from a low valent FeIFeI unit to the iron of a 4Fe4S cluster of Hyd-F, with spectral evidence indicating CN isomerization during the coupling process (Berggren, et al., Nature, 2013, 499, 66-70). To probe the requirements for such cyanide couplings, we have prepared and characterized four cyanide-bridged analogues of 3-Fe systems with features related to the organoiron moiety within the loaded HydF protein. As in classical organometallic chemistry, the orientation of the CN bridge in the biomimetics is determined by the precursor reagents; no cyanide flipping or linkage isomerization was observed. Density functional theory computations evaluated the energetics of cyanide isomerization in such [FeFe]-CN-Fe ? [FeFe]-NC-Fe units, and found excessively high barriers account for the failure to observe the alternative isomers. These results highlight roles for cyanide as an unusual ligand in biology that may stabilize low spin iron in [FeFe]-hydrogenase, and can act as a bridge connecting multi-iron units during bioassembly of the active site.
Project description:Assembly of active Fe-hydrogenase in the chloroplasts of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii requires auxiliary maturases, the S-adenosylmethionine-dependent enzymes HydG and HydE and the GTPase HydF. Genes encoding homologous maturases had been found in the genomes of all eubacteria that contain Fe-hydrogenase genes but not yet in any other eukaryote. By means of proteomic analysis, we identified a homologue of HydG in the hydrogenosomes, mitochondrion-related organelles that produce hydrogen under anaerobiosis by the activity of Fe-hydrogenase, in the pathogenic protist Trichomonas vaginalis. Genes encoding two other components of the Hyd system, HydE and HydF, were found in the T. vaginalis genome database. Overexpression of HydG, HydE, and HydF in trichomonads showed that all three proteins are specifically targeted to the hydrogenosomes, the site of Fe-hydrogenase maturation. The results of Neighbor-Net analyses of sequence similarities are consistent with a common eubacterial ancestor of HydG, HydE, and HydF in T. vaginalis and C. reinhardtii, supporting a monophyletic origin of Fe-hydrogenase maturases in the two eukaryotes. Although Fe-hydrogenases exist in only a few eukaryotes, related Narf proteins with different cellular functions are widely distributed. Thus, we propose that the acquisition of Fe-hydrogenases, together with Hyd maturases, occurred once in eukaryotic evolution, followed by the appearance of Narf through gene duplication of the Fe-hydrogenase gene and subsequent loss of the Hyd proteins in eukaryotes in which Fe-hydrogenase function was lost.
Project description:The physiological properties of a hyd mutant of Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough, lacking periplasmic Fe-only hydrogenase, have been compared with those of the wild-type strain. Fe-only hydrogenase is the main hydrogenase of D. vulgaris Hildenborough, which also has periplasmic NiFe- and NiFeSe-hydrogenases. The hyd mutant grew less well than the wild-type strain in media with sulfate as the electron acceptor and H(2) as the sole electron donor, especially at a high sulfate concentration. Although the hyd mutation had little effect on growth with lactate as the electron donor for sulfate reduction when H(2) was also present, growth in lactate- and sulfate-containing media lacking H(2) was less efficient. The hyd mutant produced, transiently, significant amounts of H(2) under these conditions, which were eventually all used for sulfate reduction. The results do not confirm the essential role proposed elsewhere for Fe-only hydrogenase as a hydrogen-producing enzyme in lactate metabolism (W. A. M. van den Berg, W. M. A. M. van Dongen, and C. Veeger, J. Bacteriol. 173:3688-3694, 1991). This role is more likely played by a membrane-bound, cytoplasmic Ech-hydrogenase homolog, which is indicated by the D. vulgaris genome sequence. The physiological role of periplasmic Fe-only hydrogenase is hydrogen uptake, both when hydrogen is and when lactate is the electron donor for sulfate reduction.
Project description:Ruminococcus albus 7 has played a key role in the development of the concept of interspecies hydrogen transfer. The rumen bacterium ferments glucose to 1.3 acetate, 0.7 ethanol, 2 CO2, and 2.6 H2 when growing in batch culture and to 2 acetate, 2 CO2, and 4 H2 when growing in continuous culture in syntrophic association with H2-consuming microorganisms that keep the H2 partial pressure low. The organism uses NAD(+) and ferredoxin for glucose oxidation to acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) and CO2, NADH for the reduction of acetyl-CoA to ethanol, and NADH and reduced ferredoxin for the reduction of protons to H2. Of all the enzymes involved, only the enzyme catalyzing the formation of H2 from NADH remained unknown. Here, we report that R. albus 7 grown in batch culture on glucose contained, besides a ferredoxin-dependent [FeFe]-hydrogenase (HydA2), a ferredoxin- and NAD-dependent electron-bifurcating [FeFe]-hydrogenase (HydABC) that couples the endergonic formation of H2 from NADH to the exergonic formation of H2 from reduced ferredoxin. Interestingly, hydA2 is adjacent to the hydS gene, which is predicted to encode an [FeFe]-hydrogenase with a C-terminal PAS domain. We showed that hydS and hydA2 are part of a larger transcriptional unit also harboring putative genes for a bifunctional acetaldehyde/ethanol dehydrogenase (Aad), serine/threonine protein kinase, serine/threonine protein phosphatase, and a redox-sensing transcriptional repressor. Since HydA2 and Aad are required only when R. albus grows at high H2 partial pressures, HydS could be a H2-sensing [FeFe]-hydrogenase involved in the regulation of their biosynthesis.
Project description:Biohydrogen is a potentially useful product of microbial energy metabolism. One approach to engineering biohydrogen production in bacteria is the production of non-native hydrogenase activity in a host cell, for example Escherichia coli. In some microbes, hydrogenase enzymes are linked directly to central metabolism via diaphorase enzymes that utilise NAD+/NADH cofactors. In this work, it was hypothesised that heterologous production of an NAD+/NADH-linked hydrogenase could connect hydrogen production in an E. coli host directly to its central metabolism. To test this, a synthetic operon was designed and characterised encoding an apparently NADH-dependent, hydrogen-evolving [FeFe]-hydrogenase from Caldanaerobacter subterranus. The synthetic operon was stably integrated into the E. coli chromosome and shown to produce an active hydrogenase, however no H2 production was observed. Subsequently, it was found that heterologous co-production of a pyruvate::ferredoxin oxidoreductase and ferredoxin from Thermotoga maritima was found to be essential to drive H2 production by this system. This work provides genetic evidence that the Ca.subterranus [FeFe]-hydrogenase could be operating in vivo as an electron-confurcating enzyme.
Project description:[FeFe]-Hydrogenases are hydrogen producing metalloenzymes with excellent catalytic capacities, highly relevant in the context of a future hydrogen economy. Here we demonstrate the synthetic activation of a heterologously expressed [FeFe]-hydrogenase in living cells of Synechocystis PCC 6803, a photoautotrophic microbial chassis with high potential for biotechnological energy applications. H2-Evolution assays clearly show that the non-native, semi-synthetic enzyme links to the native metabolism in living cells.
Project description:Hydrogenases are metalloenzymes that catalyze the conversion of protons and molecular hydrogen, H2. [FeFe]-hydrogenases show particularly high rates of hydrogen turnover and have inspired numerous compounds for biomimetic H2 production. Two decades of research on the active site cofactor of [FeFe]-hydrogenases have put forward multiple models of the catalytic proceedings. In comparison, our understanding of proton transfer is poor. Previously, residues were identified forming a hydrogen-bonding network between active site cofactor and bulk solvent; however, the exact mechanism of catalytic proton transfer remained inconclusive. Here, we employ in situ infrared difference spectroscopy on the [FeFe]-hydrogenase from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii evaluating dynamic changes in the hydrogen-bonding network upon photoreduction. While proton transfer appears to be impaired in the oxidized state (Hox), the presented data support continuous proton transfer in the reduced state (Hred). Our analysis allows for a direct, molecular unique assignment to individual amino acid residues. We found that transient protonation changes of glutamic acid residue E141 and, most notably, arginine R148 facilitate bidirectional proton transfer in [FeFe]-hydrogenases.