Contributions of the [NiFe]- and [FeFe]-hydrogenase to H2 production in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 as revealed by isotope ratio analysis of evolved H2

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Abstract

Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 encodes both a [NiFe]- and an [FeFe]-hydrogenase. While the output of these proteins has been characterized in mutant strains expressing only one of the enzymes, the contribution of each to H2 synthesis in the wild-type organism is not clear. Here, we use stable isotope analysis of H2 in the culture headspace, along with transcription data and measurements of the concentrations of gases in the headspace, to characterize H2 production in the wild-type strain. After most of the O2 in the headspace had been consumed, H2 was produced and then consumed by the bidirectional [NiFe]-hydrogenase. Once the cultures were completely anaerobic, a new burst of H2 synthesis catalyzed by both enzymes took place. Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that at this point in the culture cycle, a pool of electrons is shunted toward both hydrogenases in the wild-type organisms, but that in the absence of one of the hydrogenases, the flux is redirected to the available enzyme. To our knowledge, this is the first use of natural-abundance stable isotope analysis of a metabolic product to elucidate substrate flux through two alternative enzymes in the same cellular system.

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