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Journal Articles Journal of the American Chemical Society Year : 2021

Reversible or Irreversible Catalysis of H+/H2 Conversion by FeFe Hydrogenases


Studies of molecular catalysts traditionally aim at understanding how a certain mechanism allows the reaction to be fast. A distinct question, which has only recently received attention in the case of bidirectional molecular catalysts, is how much thermodynamic driving force is required to achieve fast catalysis in either direction of the reaction. 'Reversible' catalysts are bidirectional catalysts that work either way in response to even a small departure from equilibrium and thus do not waste input free energy as heat; conversely, 'irreversible' catalysts require a large driving force to proceed at an appreciable rate [Fourmond et al., Nat. Rev. Chem. 2021, 5, 348-360]. Numerous mechanistic rationales for these contrasting behaviours have been proposed. To understand the determinants of catalytic (ir)reversibility, we examined the steady-state, direct-electron transfer voltammetry of a particular FeFe hydrogenase, from Thermoanaerobacter mathranii, which is very unusual in that it irreversibly catalyses H 2 oxidation and production: a large overpotential is required for the reaction to proceed in either direction [Land et al., Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 12789-12801]. In contrast with previous hypotheses, we demonstrate that in this particular enzyme, catalytic irreversibility can be explained without invoking slow interfacial electron transfer or variations in the mechanism: the observed kinetics is fully consistent with the same catalytic pathway being used in both directions of the reaction.
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hal-03445761 , version 1 (24-11-2021)



Andrea Fasano, Henrik Land, Vincent Fourmond, Gustav Berggren, Christophe Léger. Reversible or Irreversible Catalysis of H+/H2 Conversion by FeFe Hydrogenases. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2021, ⟨10.1021/jacs.1c09554⟩. ⟨hal-03445761⟩
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