Summary
Iron–sulfur proteins are proteins characterized by the presence of iron–sulfur clusters containing sulfide-linked di-, tri-, and tetrairon centers in variable oxidation states. Iron–sulfur clusters are found in a variety of metalloproteins, such as the ferredoxins, as well as NADH dehydrogenase, hydrogenases, coenzyme Q – cytochrome c reductase, succinate – coenzyme Q reductase and nitrogenase. Iron–sulfur clusters are best known for their role in the oxidation-reduction reactions of electron transport in mitochondria and chloroplasts. Both Complex I and Complex II of oxidative phosphorylation have multiple Fe–S clusters. They have many other functions including catalysis as illustrated by aconitase, generation of radicals as illustrated by SAM-dependent enzymes, and as sulfur donors in the biosynthesis of lipoic acid and biotin. Additionally, some Fe–S proteins regulate gene expression. Fe–S proteins are vulnerable to attack by biogenic nitric oxide, forming dinitrosyl iron complexes. In most Fe–S proteins, the terminal ligands on Fe are thiolate, but exceptions exist. The prevalence of these proteins on the metabolic pathways of most organisms leads some scientists to theorize that iron–sulfur compounds had a significant role in the origin of life in the iron–sulfur world theory. In almost all Fe–S proteins, the Fe centers are tetrahedral and the terminal ligands are thiolato sulfur centers from cysteinyl residues. The sulfide groups are either two- or three-coordinated. Three distinct kinds of Fe–S clusters with these features are most common. To serve their various biological roles, iron-sulfur proteins effect rapid electron transfers and span the whole range of physiological redox potentials from -600 mV to +460 mV. Iron-sulfur proteins are involved in various biological electron transport processes, such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration, which require rapid electron transfer to sustain the energy or biochemical needs of the organism. Fe3+-SR bonds have unusually high covalency which is expected.
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Bioinorganic chemistry
Bioinorganic chemistry is a field that examines the role of metals in biology. Bioinorganic chemistry includes the study of both natural phenomena such as the behavior of metalloproteins as well as artificially introduced metals, including those that are non-essential, in medicine and toxicology. Many biological processes such as respiration depend upon molecules that fall within the realm of inorganic chemistry. The discipline also includes the study of inorganic models or mimics that imitate the behaviour of metalloproteins.
Ferredoxin
Ferredoxins (from Latin ferrum: iron + redox, often abbreviated "fd") are iron–sulfur proteins that mediate electron transfer in a range of metabolic reactions. The term "ferredoxin" was coined by D.C. Wharton of the DuPont Co. and applied to the "iron protein" first purified in 1962 by Mortenson, Valentine, and Carnahan from the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium pasteurianum. Another redox protein, isolated from spinach chloroplasts, was termed "chloroplast ferredoxin".
Hydrogenase
A hydrogenase is an enzyme that catalyses the reversible oxidation of molecular hydrogen (H2), as shown below: Hydrogen uptake () is coupled to the reduction of electron acceptors such as oxygen, nitrate, sulfate, carbon dioxide (), and fumarate. On the other hand, proton reduction () is coupled to the oxidation of electron donors such as ferredoxin (FNR), and serves to dispose excess electrons in cells (essential in pyruvate fermentation).
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