A biochemical and physiological characterization of coenzyme F420-reducing hydrogenase from Methanobacterium formicicum

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The coenzyme F₄₂₀-reducing hydrogenase of Methanobacterium formicicum was purified 87-fold to electrophoretic homogeneity. The enzyme formed aggregates (1,000 kd) of a coenzyme F₄₂₀-active monomer (109 kd) composed of 1 each of a, β, and γ subunits (43.6, 36.7, xy and 28.8 kd, respectively). It contained 1 mol of FAD, 1 mol of nickel, 12-14 mols of iron, and 11 mols of acid-labile sulfide per mol of the 109 kd species, but no selenium. The amino acid sequence I---P--R-EGH-----EV was conserved in the N-terminus of a subunit of the enzyme and the largest subunits of nickel-containing hydrogenases from Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, Desulfovibrio baculatus, and Desulfovibrio gigag. FAD dissociated from the coenzyme F42O-reducing hydrogenase during reactivation with H2 and coenzyme F₄₂₀, unless KCl was present, yielding coenzyme F₄₂₀-inactive apoenzyme. The hydrogenase catalyzed H₂ production at a rate 3-fold less than that for H2 uptake. Specific antiserum inhibited the coenzyme F₄₂₀ dependent activity but not the methyl viologen-dependent activity of the purified enzyme.

Cell extract of M. formicicum contained a coenzyme F₄₂₀-mediated formate hydrogenlyase system. Formate hydrogenlyase activity was reconstituted with coenzyme F₄₂₀-reducing hydrogenase, coenzyme F₄₂₀-reducing formate dehydrogenase, and coenzyme F₄₂₀, all purified from M. formicicum. The reconstituted system required FAD for maximal activity (kinetic Kd= 4 μM). without FAD, the formate dehydrogenase and hydrogenase rapidly lost coenzyme F₄₂₀-dependent activity relative to methyl viologen-dependent activity. Immunoadsorption of the formate dehydrogenase or hydrogenase from cell extract greatly reduced formate hydrogenlyase activity; addition of the purified enzymes restored activity. Formate hydrogenlyase activity of cell extract and the reconstituted system was reversible.

The coenzyme F₄₂₀-reducing hydrogenase and formate dehydrogenase of M. formicicum were shown to be located at the cytoplasmic membrane using immunogold labeling of thin sectioned, Lowicryl-embedded cells. Neither enzyme was released from whole cells by osmotic shock treatment.