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Inorganics 2018, 6(1), 25;

The Fe Protein: An Unsung Hero of Nitrogenase

Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine 2236/2448 McGaugh Hall, Irvine, CA 92697-3900, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
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Although the nitrogen-fixing enzyme nitrogenase critically requires both a reductase component (Fe protein) and a catalytic component, considerably more work has focused on the latter species. Properties of the catalytic component, which contains two highly complex metallocofactors and catalyzes the reduction of N2 into ammonia, understandably making it the “star” of nitrogenase. However, as its obligate redox partner, the Fe protein is a workhorse with multiple supporting roles in both cofactor maturation and catalysis. In particular, the nitrogenase Fe protein utilizes nucleotide binding and hydrolysis in concert with electron transfer to accomplish several tasks of critical importance. Aside from the ATP-coupled transfer of electrons to the catalytic component during substrate reduction, the Fe protein also functions in a maturase and insertase capacity to facilitate the biosynthesis of the two-catalytic component metallocofactors: fusion of the [Fe8S7] P-cluster and insertion of Mo and homocitrate to form the matured [(homocitrate)MoFe7S9C] M-cluster. These and key structural-functional relationships of the indispensable Fe protein and its complex with the catalytic component will be covered in this review. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrogenase; NifDK; NifH; MoFe; Fe protein; reductase; maturase; metalloprotein nitrogenase; NifDK; NifH; MoFe; Fe protein; reductase; maturase; metalloprotein

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Jasniewski, A.J.; Sickerman, N.S.; Hu, Y.; Ribbe, M.W. The Fe Protein: An Unsung Hero of Nitrogenase. Inorganics 2018, 6, 25.

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