Sulfido and cysteine ligation changes at the molybdenum cofactor during substrate conversion by formate dehydrogenase (FDH) from Rhodobacter capsulatus

Peer Schrapers, Tobias Hartmann, Ramona Kositzki, Holger Dau, Stefan Reschke, Carola Schulzke, Silke Leimkühler, Michael Haumann
Inorganic Chemistry 2015 April 6, 54 (7): 3260-71
Formate dehydrogenase (FDH) enzymes are attractive catalysts for potential carbon dioxide conversion applications. The FDH from Rhodobacter capsulatus (RcFDH) binds a bis-molybdopterin-guanine-dinucleotide (bis-MGD) cofactor, facilitating reversible formate (HCOO(-)) to CO2 oxidation. We characterized the molecular structure of the active site of wildtype RcFDH and protein variants using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) at the Mo K-edge. This approach has revealed concomitant binding of a sulfido ligand (Mo=S) and a conserved cysteine residue (S(Cys386)) to Mo(VI) in the active oxidized molybdenum cofactor (Moco), retention of such a coordination motif at Mo(V) in a chemically reduced enzyme, and replacement of only the S(Cys386) ligand by an oxygen of formate upon Mo(IV) formation. The lack of a Mo=S bond in RcFDH expressed in the absence of FdsC implies specific metal sulfuration by this bis-MGD binding chaperone. This process still functioned in the Cys386Ser variant, showing no Mo-S(Cys386) ligand, but retaining a Mo=S bond. The C386S variant and the protein expressed without FdsC were inactive in formate oxidation, supporting that both Mo-ligands are essential for catalysis. Low-pH inhibition of RcFDH was attributed to protonation at the conserved His387, supported by the enhanced activity of the His387Met variant at low pH, whereas inactive cofactor species showed sulfido-to-oxo group exchange at the Mo ion. Our results support that the sulfido and S(Cys386) ligands at Mo and a hydrogen-bonded network including His387 are crucial for positioning, deprotonation, and oxidation of formate during the reaction cycle of RcFDH.

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