Methanogenic heterodisulfide reductase (HdrABC-MvhAGD) uses two noncubane [4Fe-4S] clusters for reduction

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Science  18 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6352, pp. 699-703
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan0425

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Methanogenic archaea metabolism

Most of the methane on Earth is produced by the metabolism of methanogenic archaea. The final step involves a reaction between methyl-coenzyme M and coenzyme B to give CoM-S-S-CoB and methane. Wagner et al. report a high-resolution structure of the methanogenic heterodisulfide reductase (HdtABC)-[NiFe]-hydrogenase, the enzyme that reduces the disulfide and couples this to the reduction of ferredoxin in an energy-conserving process known as flavin-based electron bifurcation (FBEB) (see the Perspective by Dobbek). The reduced ferredoxin, in turn, drives the first step of methanogenesis. The structure shows how two noncubane [4Fe-4S] clusters perform disulfide cleavage and gives insight into the mechanism of FBEB.

Science, this issue p. 699; see also p. 642


In methanogenic archaea, the carbon dioxide (CO2) fixation and methane-forming steps are linked through the heterodisulfide reductase (HdrABC)–[NiFe]-hydrogenase (MvhAGD) complex that uses flavin-based electron bifurcation to reduce ferredoxin and the heterodisulfide of coenzymes M and B. Here, we present the structure of the native heterododecameric HdrABC-MvhAGD complex at 2.15-angstrom resolution. HdrB contains two noncubane [4Fe-4S] clusters composed of fused [3Fe-4S]-[2Fe-2S] units sharing 1 iron (Fe) and 1 sulfur (S), which were coordinated at the CCG motifs. Soaking experiments showed that the heterodisulfide is clamped between the two noncubane [4Fe-4S] clusters and homolytically cleaved, forming coenzyme M and B bound to each iron. Coenzymes are consecutively released upon one-by-one electron transfer. The HdrABC-MvhAGD atomic model serves as a structural template for numerous HdrABC homologs involved in diverse microbial metabolic pathways.

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