Studier av hydrogenasenzymer och deras biotekniska potential genom en kombination av kemi och biologi
Tidsperiod: 2015-01-01 till 2018-12-31
Budget: 3 200 000 SEK
Long-term storage is a key obstacle for further implementation of renewable energy resources in our society. In this context hydrogen gas is often put forward as a future energy vector. However, today the progress is limited by our need for Pt-based catalysts both for the production and combustion of hydrogen gas. Conversely, in Nature these reactions are catalysed at high efficiencies by the hydrogenase enzymes which rely solely on first-row transition metals. Consequently they have been intensively studied as alternatives to Pt-based catalysts for these reactions, but unfortunately their use has been hampered by difficulties in obtaining large quantities of the active enzyme.During my postdoctoral studies I developed a method by which [FeFe] hydrogenases (HydA) can be activated in vitro using synthetic mimics of their catalytic cofactor. This proposal aims to take advantage of this ground-breaking finding to further elucidate the enzymatic mechanism and maturation process of this enzyme, and to show how this knowledge can be used in (bio-)technological applications.I will take advantage of this unique method in order to: i) Delve into detailed studies of both the active site structure itself and the mechanism of insertion of the catalytic subunit; ii) Show how artificial maturation of HydA can be used for preparation of enzyme coated (photo-)electrodes for H2 gas generation; iii) Prepare novel artificial hydrogenases combining biological and chemical tools.