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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A [4Fe-4S]-Fe(CO)(CN)-L-cysteine intermediate is the first organometallic precursor in [FeFe] hydrogenase H-cluster bioassembly.

  • Author(s): Rao, Guodong
  • Tao, Lizhi
  • Suess, Daniel LM
  • Britt, R David
  • et al.

Biosynthesis of the [FeFe] hydrogenase active site (the 'H-cluster') requires the interplay of multiple proteins and small molecules. Among them, the radical S-adenosylmethionine enzyme HydG, a tyrosine lyase, has been proposed to generate a complex that contains an Fe(CO)2(CN) moiety that is eventually incorporated into the H-cluster. Here we describe the characterization of an intermediate in the HydG reaction: a [4Fe-4S][(Cys)Fe(CO)(CN)] species, 'Complex A', in which a CO, a CN- and a cysteine (Cys) molecule bind to the unique 'dangler' Fe site of the auxiliary [5Fe-4S] cluster of HydG. The identification of this intermediate-the first organometallic precursor to the H-cluster-validates the previously hypothesized HydG reaction cycle and provides a basis for elucidating the biosynthetic origin of other moieties of the H-cluster.

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