Photo-induced H2 production by [NiFe]-hydrogenase from T. roseopersicina covalently linked to a Ru(II) photosensitizer


The potential of hydrogen as a clean renewable fuel source and the finite reserves of platinum metal to be utilized in hydrogen production catalysts have provided the motivation for the development of non-noble metal-based solutions for catalytic hydrogen production. There are a number of microorganisms that possess highly efficient hydrogen production catalysts, termed hydrogenases, that generate hydrogen under certain metabolic conditions. Although hydrogenases occur in photosynthetic microorganisms, the oxygen sensitivity of these enzymes represents a significant barrier in directly coupling hydrogen production to oxygenic photosynthesis. To overcome this barrier, there has been considerable interest in identifying or engineering oxygen tolerant hydrogenases or generating mimetic systems that do not rely on oxygen producing photocatalysts. In this work, we demonstrate photo-induced hydrogen production from a stable [NiFe]-hydrogenase coupled to a [Ru(2,2'-bipyridine)2(5-amino1,10 phenanthroline)]2+ photocatalyst. When the Ru(II) complex is covalently attached to the hydrogenase, photocatalytic hydrogen production occurs more efficiently in the presence of a redox mediator than if the Ru(II) complex is simply present in solution. Furthermore, sustained hydrogen production occurs even in the presence of oxygen by presumably creating a local anoxic environment through the reduction of oxygen similar to what is proposed for oxygen tolerant hydrogenases. These results provide a strong proof of concept for engineering photocatalytic hydrogen production in the presence of oxygen using biohybrid mimetic systems.




Zadvornyy OA, Lucon JE, Gerlach R, Zorin NA, Douglas T, Elgren TE, Peters JW, "Photo-induced H2 production by [NiFe]-hydrogenase from T. roseopersicina covalently linked to a Ru(II) photosensitizer," Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, January 2012 106(1):151–155.
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