Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version

May 2007


Published in SCIENCE - VOL. 275 - 28 FEBRUARY 1997. Copyright 1997. Permission to use.


Formate dehydrogenase H from Escherichia coli contains selenocysteine (SeCys), molybdenum, two molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide (MGD) cofactors, and an Fe4S4 cluster at the active site and catalyzes the two-electron oxidation of formate to carbon dioxide. The crystal structures of the oxidized [Mo( VI), Fe4S4(ox)] form of formate dehydrogenase H (with and without bound inhibitor) and the reduced [Mo(IV ), Fe4S4(red)] form have been determined, revealing a four-domain ab structure with the molybdenum directly coordinated to selenium and both MGD cofactors. These structures suggest a reaction mechanism that directly involves SeCys140 and His141 in proton abstraction and the molybdenum, molybdopterin, Lys44, and the Fe4S4 cluster in electron transfer.