A broad survey reveals substitution tolerance of residues ligating FeS clusters in [NiFe] hydrogenase
Yonemoto IT, Clarkson BR, Smith HO, Weyman PD
In order to understand the effects of FeS cluster attachment in [NiFe] hydrogenase, we undertook a study to substitute all 12 amino acid positions normally ligating the three FeS clusters in the hydrogenase small subunit. Using the hydrogenase from Alteromonas macleodii "deep ecotype" as a model, we substituted one of four amino acids (Asp, His, Asn, Gln) at each of the 12 ligating positions because these amino acids are alternative coordinating residues in otherwise conserved-cysteine positions found in a broad survey of NiFe hydrogenase sequences. We also hoped to discover an enzyme with elevated hydrogen evolution activity relative to a previously reported "G1" (H230C/P285C) improved enzyme in which the medial FeS cluster Pro and the distal FeS cluster His were each substituted for Cys.