Matching Items (11)

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Creating and Characterizing a PsaC-HydA1 Fusion in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Description

There is an ever-increasing need in the world to develop a source of fuel that is clean, renewable and feasible in terms of production and implementation. Hydrogen gas presents a

There is an ever-increasing need in the world to develop a source of fuel that is clean, renewable and feasible in terms of production and implementation. Hydrogen gas presents a possible solution to these energy needs, particularly if given a way to produce hydrogen gas efficiently. Biological hydrogen (biohydrogen) production presents a potential way to do just this. It is known that hydrogenases are active in wild-type algal photosynthesis pathways but are only active in anoxic environments, where they serve as electron sinks and compete poorly for electrons from photosystem I. To circumvent these issues, a psaC-hydA1 fusion gene was designed and incorporated into a plasmid that was then used to transform hydrogenase-free Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutants. Results obtained suggest that the psaC-hydA1 gene completely replaced the wild-type psaC gene in the chloroplast genome and the fusion was expressed in the algal cells. Western blotting verified the presence of the HydA1-PsaC fusion proteins in the transformed cells, P700 photobleaching suggested the normal assembly of FA/FB clusters in PsaC-HydA1, and PSII fluorescence data suggested that HydA1 protein limited photosynthetic electron transport flow in the fusion. Hydrogen production was measured in dark, high light, and under maximal reducing conditions. In all conditions, the wild-type algal strain (with a normal PsaC protein) exhibited higher rates of hydrogen production in the light over 2 hours than the WT strain, though both strains produced similar rates in the dark.

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  • 2017-12

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Engineered Hydrogen Production in Heliobacteria using Clostridial Hydrogenase: A Probe for Understanding Cell Physiology

Description

Heliobacteria are an anaerobic phototroph that require carbon sources such as pyruvate, <br/>lactate, or acetate for growth (Sattley, et. al. 2008). They are known for having one of the <br/>simplest

Heliobacteria are an anaerobic phototroph that require carbon sources such as pyruvate, <br/>lactate, or acetate for growth (Sattley, et. al. 2008). They are known for having one of the <br/>simplest phototrophic systems, the central component of which is a Type I reaction center (RC) <br/>that pumps protons to generate the electrochemical gradient for making ATP. Heliobacteria <br/>preform cyclic electron flow (CEF) with the RC in the light but can also grow chemotropically in <br/>the dark. Many anaerobes like heliobacteria, such as other members of the class Clostridia, <br/>possess the capability to produce hydrogen via a hydrogenase enzyme in the cell, as protons can <br/>serve as an electron acceptor in anaerobic metabolism. However, the species of heliobacteria <br/>studied here, H. modesticaldum have been seen to produce hydrogen via their nitrogenase <br/>enzyme but not when this enzyme is inactive. This study aimed to investigate if the reason for <br/>their lack of hydrogen production was due to a lack of an active hydrogenase enzyme, possibly <br/>indicating that the genes required for activity were lost by an H. modesticaldum ancestor. This <br/>was done by introducing genes encoding a clostridial [FeFe] hydrogenase from C. thermocellum<br/>via conjugation and measuring hydrogen production in the transformant cells. Transformant cells <br/>produced hydrogen and cells without the genes did not, meaning that the heliobacteria ferredoxin <br/>was capable of donating electrons to the foreign hydrogenase to make hydrogen. Because the <br/>[FeFe] hydrogenase must receive electrons from the cytosolic ferredoxin, it was hypothesized <br/>that hydrogen production in heliobacteria could be used to probe the redox state of the ferredoxin <br/>pool in conditions of varying electron availability. Results of this study showed that hydrogen <br/>production was affected by electron availability variations due to varying pyruvate <br/>concentrations in the media, light vs dark environment, use acetate as a carbon source, and being <br/>provided external electron donors. Hydrogen production, therefore, was predicted to be an <br/>effective indicator of electron availability in the reduced ferredoxin pool.

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  • 2021-05

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Optimizing the Production of Algal Biohydrogen

Description

The oxygen sensitivity of hydrogenase is a large barrier in maximizing the efficiency of algal hydrogen production, despite recent efforts aimed at rewiring photosynthesis. This project focuses on the role

The oxygen sensitivity of hydrogenase is a large barrier in maximizing the efficiency of algal hydrogen production, despite recent efforts aimed at rewiring photosynthesis. This project focuses on the role of photosystem II (PSII) in extended hydrogen production by cells expressing the PSI-HydA1 chimera, with the goal of optimizing continuous production of photobiohydrogen in the green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Experiments utilizing an artificial PSII electron
Therefore, it can be concluded that downstream processes are limiting the electron flow to the hydrogenase. It was also shown that the use of a PSII inhibitor, 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1- dimethylurea (DCMU), at sub-saturating concentrations under light exposure during growth temporarily improves the duration of the H2 evolution phase. The maximal hydrogen production rate was found to be approximately 32 nmol h-1 (µg Chl)-1. Although downregulation of PSII activity with DCMU improves the long-term hydrogen production, future experiments must be focused on improving oxygen tolerance of the hydrogenase as a means for higher hydrogen yields.

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  • 2019-05

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Hydrogen metabolism in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803: insight into the light-dependent and light-independent hydrogenase activities

Description

The unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 contains a NiFe-type bidirectional hydrogenase that is capable of using reducing equivalents to reduce protons and generate H¬2. In order to achieve sustained

The unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 contains a NiFe-type bidirectional hydrogenase that is capable of using reducing equivalents to reduce protons and generate H¬2. In order to achieve sustained H2 production using this cyanobacterium many challenges need to be overcome. Reported H2 production from Synechocystis is of low rate and often transient. Results described in this dissertation show that the hydrogenase activity in Synechocystis is quite different during periods of darkness and light. In darkness, the hydrogenase enzyme acts in a truly bidirectional way and a particular H2 concentration is reached that depends upon the amount of biomass involved in H2 production. On the other hand, in the presence of light the enzyme shows only transient H2 production followed by a rapid and constitutive H2 oxidation. H2 oxidation and production were measured from a variety of Synechocystis strains in which components of the photosynthetic or respiratory electron transport chain were either deleted or inhibited. It was shown that the light-induced H2 oxidation is dependent on the activity of cytochrome b6f and photosystem I but not on the activity of photosystem II, indicating a channeling of electrons through cytochrome b6f and photosystem I. Because of the sequence similarities between subunits of NADH dehydrogenase I in E. coli and subunits of hydrogenase in Synechocystis, NADH dehydrogenase I was considered as the most likely candidate to mediate the electron transfer from hydrogenase to the membrane electron carrier plastoquinone, and a three-dimensional homology model with the associated subunits shows that structurally it is possible for the subunits of the two complexes to assemble. Finally, with the aim of improving the rate of H2 production in Synechocystis by using a powerful hydrogenase enzyme, a mutant strain of Synechocystis was created in which the native hydrogenase was replaced with the hydrogenase from Lyngbya aestuarii BL J, a strain with higher capacity for H2 production. H2 production was detected in this Synechocystis mutant strain, but only in the presence of external reductants. Overall, this study emphasizes the importance of redox partners in determining the direction of H2 flux in Synechocystis.

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  • 2015

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Electrocatalytic Comparison of [FeFe]-Hydrogenases

Description

Oxidoreductases catalyze transformations important in both bioenergetics and microbial technologies. Nonetheless, questions remain about how to tune them to modulate properties such as preference for catalysis in the oxidative or

Oxidoreductases catalyze transformations important in both bioenergetics and microbial technologies. Nonetheless, questions remain about how to tune them to modulate properties such as preference for catalysis in the oxidative or reductive direction, the potential range of activity, or coupling of multiple reactions. Using protein film electrochemistry, the features that control these properties are defined by comparing the activities of five [FeFe]-hydrogenases and two thiosulfate reductases. Although [FeFe]-hydrogenases are largely described as hydrogen evolution catalysts, the catalytic bias of [FeFe]-hydrogenases, i.e. the ratio of maximal reductive to oxidative activities, spans more than six orders of magnitude. At one extreme, two [FeFe]-hdyrogenases, Clostridium pasteuriaunum HydAII and Clostridium symbiosum HydY, are far more active for hydrogen oxidation than hydrogen evolution. On the other extreme, Clostridium pasteurianum HydAI and Clostridium acetobutylicum HydA1 have a neutral bias, in which both proton reduction and hydrogen oxidation are efficient. By investigating a collection of site-directed mutants, it is shown that the catalytic bias of [FeFe]-hydrogenases is not trivially correlated with the identities of residues in the primary or secondary coordination sphere. On the other hand, the catalytic bias of Clostridium acetobutylicum HydAI can be modulated via mutation of an amino acid residue coordinating the terminal [FeS] cluster. Simulations suggest that this change in catalytic bias may be linked to the reduction potential of the cluster.

Two of the enzymes examined in this work, Clostridium pasteurianum HydAIII and Clostridium symbiosum HydY, display novel catalytic properties. HydY is exclusively a hydrogen oxidizing catalyst, and it couples this activity to peroxide reduction activity at a rubrerythrin center in the same enzyme. On the other hand, CpIII operates only in a narrow potential window, inactivating at oxidizing potentials. This suggests it plays a novel physiological role that has not yet been identified. Finally, the electrocatalytic properties of Pyrobaculum aerophilum thiosulfate reductase with either Mo or W in the active site are compared. In both cases, the onset of catalysis corresponds to reduction of the active site. Overall, the Mo enzyme is more active, and reduces thiosulfate with less overpotential.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Bioinspired Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Production: Synthetic and Biological Approaches

Description

Development of efficient and renewable electrocatalytic systems is foundational to creation of effective means to produce solar fuels. Many redox enzymes are functional electrocatalysts when immobilized on an electrode, but

Development of efficient and renewable electrocatalytic systems is foundational to creation of effective means to produce solar fuels. Many redox enzymes are functional electrocatalysts when immobilized on an electrode, but long-term stability of isolated proteins limits use in applications. Thus there is interest in developing bio-inspired functional catalysts or electrocatalytic systems based on living organisms. This dissertation describes efforts to create both synthetic and biological electrochemical systems for electrocatalytic hydrogen production.

The first part of this dissertation describes the preparation of three different types of proton reduction catalysts. First, four bioinspired diiron complexes of the form (μ-SRS)Fe(CO)3[Fe(CO)(N-N)] for SRS = 1,2-benzenedithiolate (bdt) and 1,3-propanedithiolate (pdt) and N-N = 2,2’-bipyridine (bpy) and 2,2’-bypyrimidine (bpym), are described. Electrocatatlytic experiments show that although the byprimidinal complexes are not catalysts, the bipyridyl complexes produce hydrogen from acetic acid under reducing conditions. Second, three new mononuclear FeII carbonyl complexes of the form [Fe(CO)(bdt)(PPh2)2] in which P2 = bis-phosphine: 4,5-Bis(diphenylphosphino)- 9,9-dimethylxanthene (Xantphos), 1,2-Bis(diphenylphosphino)benzene (dppb), or cis- 1,2-Bis(diphenylphosphino)ethylene (dppv) are described. All are functional bio-inspired models of the distal Fe site of [FeFe]-hydrogenases. Of these, the Xanthphos complex is the most stable to redox reactions and active as an electrocatalyst. Third, a molybdenum catalyst based on the redox non-innocent PDI ligand framework is also shown to produce hydrogen in the presence of acid.

The second part of this dissertation describes creating functional interfaces between chemical and biological models at electrode surfaces to create electroactive systems. First, covalent tethering of the redox probe ferrocene to thiol-functionalized reduced graphene oxide is demonstrated. I demonstrate that this attachment is via the thiol functional groups. Second, I demonstrate the ability to use electricity in combination with light to drive production of hydrogen by the anaerobic, phototrophic microorganism Heliobacterium modesticaldum.

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  • 2017

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The investigation and characterization of redox enzymes using protein film electrochemistry

Description

Redox reactions are crucial to energy transduction in biology. Protein film electrochemistry (PFE) is a technique for studying redox proteins in which the protein is immobilized at an electrode surface

Redox reactions are crucial to energy transduction in biology. Protein film electrochemistry (PFE) is a technique for studying redox proteins in which the protein is immobilized at an electrode surface so as to allow direct exchange of electrons. Establishing a direct electronic connection eliminates the need for redox­active mediators, thus allowing for interrogation of the redox protein of interest. PFE has proven a versatile tool that has been used to elucidate the properties of many technologically relevant redox proteins including hydrogenases, laccases, and glucose oxidase.

This dissertation is comprised of two parts: extension of PFE to a novel electrode material and application of PFE to the investigation of a new type of hydrogenase. In the first part, mesoporous antimony-doped tin oxide (ATO) is employed for the first time as an electrode material for protein film electrochemistry. Taking advantage of the excellent optical transparency of ATO, spectroelectrochemistry of cytochrome c is demonstrated. The electrochemical and spectroscopic properties of the protein are analogous to those measured for the native protein in solution, and the immobilized protein is stable for weeks at high loadings. In the second part, PFE is used to characterize the catalytic properties of the soluble hydrogenase I from Pyrococcus furiosus (PfSHI). Since this protein is highly thermostable, the temperature dependence of catalytic properties was investigated. I show that the preference of the enzyme for reduction of protons (as opposed to oxidation of hydrogen) and the reactions with oxygen are highly dependent on temperature, and the enzyme is tolerant to oxygen during both oxidative and reductive catalysis.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Methods and applications of nanoelectrochemical techniques

Description

Hydrogenases catalyze the interconversion of protons, electrons, and hydrogen according to the reaction: 2H+ + 2e- <-> H2 while using only earth abundant metals, namely nickel and iron for catalysis.

Hydrogenases catalyze the interconversion of protons, electrons, and hydrogen according to the reaction: 2H+ + 2e- <-> H2 while using only earth abundant metals, namely nickel and iron for catalysis. The enzymatic turnover of Clostridium acetobutylicum [FeFe]-hydrogenase has been investigated through the use of electrochemical and scanning probe techniques. Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) imaging revealed sub-monolayer surface coverage. Cyclic voltammetry yielded a catalytic, cathodic hydrogen production signal similar to that observed for a platinum electrode. From the direct observation of single enzymes and the macroscopic electrochemical measurements obtained from the same electrode, the apparent turnover frequency (TOF) per single enzyme molecule as a function of potential was determined. The TOF at 0.7 V vs. Ag/AgCl for the four SAMs yielded a decay constant for electronic coupling (β) through the SAM of ~ 0.82 Å -1, in excellent agreement with published values for similar SAMs. One mechanism used by plants to protect against damage is called nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ). Triggered by low pH in the thylakoid lumen, NPQ leads to conversion of excess excitation energy in the antenna system to heat before it can initiate production of harmful chemical species by photosynthetic reaction centers. Here a synthetic hexad molecule that functionally mimics the role of the antenna in NPQ is described. When the hexad is dissolved in an organic solvent, five zinc porphyrin antenna moieties absorb light, exchange excitation energy, and ultimately decay by normal photophysical processes. However, when acid is added, a pH-sensitive dye moiety is converted to a form that rapidly quenches the first excited singlet states of all five porphyrins, converting the excitation energy to heat and rendering the porphyrins kinetically incompetent to perform useful photochemistry. Charge transport was also studied in single-molecule junctions formed with a 1,7-pyrrolidine-substituted 3,4,9,10-Perylenetetracarboxylic diimide (PTCDI) molecule. A reduction in the highest occupied (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied (LUMO) molecular orbitals energy gap due to the electronic properties of the substituents is seen when compared to an unsubstituted-PTCDI. The small HOMO-LUMO energy gap allows for switching between electron- and hole-dominated charge transport with a gate voltage, thus demonstrating a single-molecule ambipolar field effect transistor.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Engineering oxidoreductases: towards artificial hydrogenases

Description

Natural hydrogenases catalyze the reduction of protons to molecular hydrogen reversibly under mild conditions; these enzymes have an unusual active site architecture, in which a diiron site is connected to

Natural hydrogenases catalyze the reduction of protons to molecular hydrogen reversibly under mild conditions; these enzymes have an unusual active site architecture, in which a diiron site is connected to a cubane type [4Fe-4S] cluster. Due to the relevance of this reaction to energy production, and in particular to sustainable fuel production, there have been substantial amount of research focused on developing biomimetic organometallic models. However, most of these organometallic complexes cannot revisit the structural and functional fine-tuning provided by the protein matrix as seen in the natural enzyme. The goal of this thesis is to build a protein based functional mimic of [Fe-Fe] hydrogenases. I used a 'retrosynthetic' approach that separates out two functional aspects of the natural enzyme. First, I built an artificial electron transfer domain by engineering two [4Fe-4S] cluster binding sites into an existing protein, DSD, which is a de novo designed domain swapped dimer. The resulting protein, DSD-bis[4Fe-4S], contains two clusters at a distance of 36 Å . I then varied distance between two clusters using vertical translation along the axis of the coiled coil; the resulting protein demonstrates efficient electron transfer to/from redox sites. Second, I built simple, functional artificial hydrogenases by using an artificial amino acid comprising a 1,3 dithiol moiety to anchor a biomimetic [Fe-Fe] active site within the protein scaffold Correct incorporation of the cluster into a model helical peptide was verified by UV-Vis, FTIR, ESI-MS and CD spectroscopy. This synthetic strategy is extended to the de novo design of more complex protein architectures, four-helix bundles that host the di-iron cluster within the hydrophobic core. In a separate approach, I developed a generalizable strategy to introduce organometallic catalytic sites into a protein scaffold. I introduced a biomimetic organometallic complex for proton reduction by covalent conjugation to biotin. The streptavidin-bound complex is significantly more efficient in photocatalytic hydrogen production than the catalyst alone. With these artificial proteins, it will be possible to explore the effect of second sphere interactions on the activity of the diiron center, and to include in the design properties such as compatibility with conductive materials and electrodes.

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  • 2014

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The investigation and characterization of the group 3 [NiFe]-Hydrogenases using protein film electrochemistry

Description

Hydrogenases, the enzymes that reversibly convert protons and electrons to hydrogen, are used in all three domains of life. [NiFe]-hydrogenases are considered best suited for biotechnological applications because of their

Hydrogenases, the enzymes that reversibly convert protons and electrons to hydrogen, are used in all three domains of life. [NiFe]-hydrogenases are considered best suited for biotechnological applications because of their reversible inactivation with oxygen. Phylogenetically, there are four groups of [NiFe]-hydrogenases. The best characterized group, "uptake" hydrogenases, are membrane-bound and catalyze hydrogen oxidation in vivo. In contrast, the group 3 [NiFe]-hydrogenases are heteromultimeric, bifunctional enzymes that fulfill various cellular roles. In this dissertation, protein film electrochemistry (PFE) is used to characterize the catalytic properties of two group 3 [NiFe]-hydrogenases: HoxEFUYH from Synechocystsis sp. PCC 6803 and SHI from Pyrococcus furiosus. First, HoxEFUYH is shown to be biased towards hydrogen production. Upon exposure to oxygen, HoxEFUYH inactivates to two states, both of which can be reactivated on the timescale of seconds. Second, we show that PfSHI is the first example of an oxygen tolerant [NiFe]-hydrogenase that produces two inactive states upon exposure to oxygen. Both inactive states are analogous to those characterized for HoxEFUYH, but oxygen exposed PfSHI produces a greater fraction that reactivates at high potentials, enabling hydrogen oxidation in the presence of oxygen. Third, it is shown that removing the NAD(P)-reducing subunits from PfSHI leads to a decrease in bias towards hydrogen oxidation and renders the enzyme oxygen sensitive. Both traits are likely due to impaired intramolecular electron transfer. Mechanistic hypotheseses for these functional differences are considered.

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Date Created
  • 2012