Light-driven carbon-carbon bond formation via CO2 reduction catalyzed by complexes of CdS nanorods and a 2-oxoacid oxidoreductase

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Jan 7;117(1):135-140. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1903948116. Epub 2019 Dec 18.


Redox enzymes are capable of catalyzing a vast array of useful reactions, but they require redox partners that donate or accept electrons. Semiconductor nanocrystals provide a mechanism to convert absorbed photon energy into redox equivalents for enzyme catalysis. Here, we describe a system for photochemical carbon-carbon bond formation to make 2-oxoglutarate by coupling CO2 with a succinyl group. Photoexcited electrons from cadmium sulfide nanorods (CdS NRs) transfer to 2-oxoglutarate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase from Magnetococcus marinus MC-1 (MmOGOR), which catalyzes a carbon-carbon bond formation reaction. We thereby decouple MmOGOR from its native role in the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle and drive it directly with light. We examine the dependence of 2-oxoglutarate formation on a variety of factors and, using ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy, elucidate the critical role of electron transfer (ET) from CdS NRs to MmOGOR. We find that the efficiency of this ET depends strongly on whether the succinyl CoA (SCoA) cosubstrate is bound at the MmOGOR active site. We hypothesize that the conformational changes due to SCoA binding impact the CdS NR-MmOGOR interaction in a manner that decreases ET efficiency compared to the enzyme with no cosubstrate bound. Our work reveals structural considerations for the nano-bio interfaces involved in light-driven enzyme catalysis and points to the competing factors of enzyme catalysis and ET efficiency that may arise when complex enzyme reactions are driven by artificial light absorbers.

Keywords: electron transfer; nanocrystal; photochemistry; redox enzyme.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acyl Coenzyme A
  • Alphaproteobacteria / enzymology
  • Cadmium Compounds / chemistry*
  • Carbon / chemistry*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism*
  • Catalysis
  • Citric Acid Cycle
  • Electron Transport
  • Electrons
  • Ferredoxins / metabolism
  • Keto Acids
  • Ketoglutaric Acids / metabolism
  • Light*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Nanotubes / chemistry*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Photochemistry / methods*
  • Sulfides / chemistry*


  • Acyl Coenzyme A
  • Cadmium Compounds
  • Ferredoxins
  • Keto Acids
  • Ketoglutaric Acids
  • Sulfides
  • cadmium sulfide
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Carbon
  • succinyl-coenzyme A
  • Oxidoreductases

Supplementary concepts

  • Magnetococcus marinus