Hup-Type Hydrogenases of Purple Bacteria: Homology Modeling and Computational Assessment of Biotechnological Potential

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jan 6;21(1):366. doi: 10.3390/ijms21010366.


Three-dimensional structures of six closely related hydrogenases from purple bacteria were modeled by combining the template-based and ab initio modeling approach. The results led to the conclusion that there should be a 4Fe3S cluster in the structure of these enzymes. Thus, these hydrogenases could draw interest for exploring their oxygen tolerance and practical applicability in hydrogen fuel cells. Analysis of the 4Fe3S cluster's microenvironment showed intragroup heterogeneity. A possible function of the C-terminal part of the small subunit in membrane binding is discussed. Comparison of the built models with existing hydrogenases of the same subgroup (membrane-bound oxygen-tolerant hydrogenases) was carried out. Analysis of intramolecular interactions in the large subunits showed statistically reliable differences in the number of hydrophobic interactions and ionic interactions. Molecular tunnels were mapped in the models and compared with structures from the PDB. Protein-protein docking showed that these enzymes could exchange electrons in an oligomeric state, which is important for oxygen-tolerant hydrogenases. Molecular docking with model electrode compounds showed mostly the same results as with hydrogenases from E. coli, H. marinus, R. eutropha, and S. enterica; some interesting results were shown in case of HupSL from Rba. sphaeroides and Rvi. gelatinosus.

Keywords: FeS clusters; homology modeling; hydrogen fuel cells; hydrogenases; molecular docking; molecular tunnels; transmembrane helices.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Hydrogenase / chemistry*
  • Industrial Microbiology
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proteobacteria / classification
  • Proteobacteria / enzymology*
  • Proteobacteria / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Hydrogenase