Replacing Electron Transport Cofactors with Hydrogenases

  • Rkia Laamarti

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Enzymes have found applications in a broad range of industrial production processes. While high catalytic activity, selectivity and mild reaction conditions are attractive advantages of the biocatalysts, particularly costs arising from required cofactors pose a sever limitation. While cofactor-recycling systems are available, their use implies constraints for process set-up and conditions, which are a particular problem e.g. for solid-gas-phase reactions. Several oxidoreductases are able to directly exchange electrons with electrodes. Hence, the co-immobilization of both, an electron-utilizing and an electron-generating oxidoreductase on conductive nanoparticles should facilitate the direct electron flow from an enzymatic oxidation to a reduction reaction circumventing redox-cofactors requirements. In such a set-up, hydrogenases could generate and provide electrons directly form gaseous hydrogen. This thesis describes the co-immobilization of the oxygen tolerant hydrogenases from C. eutropha or C. metallidurans and cytochrome P450BM3 as test system. Conductive material in the form of carbon nanotubes (CNT) serves as a suitable support. A combination of the hydrogenase and the catalytic domain of P450BM3 immobilized on carbon nanotubes were tested for the oxidation of lauric acid in the presence of hydrogen instead of an electron-transport cofactor. The GC-MS analysis reveals the conversion of 4% of lauric acid (LA) into three products, which correspond to the hydroxylated lauric acid in three different positions with a total turnover (TON) of 34. The product distribution is similar to that obtained when using the wildtype P450BM3 with the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) cofactor. Such electronic coupling couldn’t be achieved for the conversion of other substrates such as propane and cyclohexane, probably due to the high uncoupling rate within the heme-domain of cytochrome P450BM3 when unnatural substrates are introduced.
Date of AwardDec 2016
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorJorg Eppinger (Supervisor)


  • Biocatalysis
  • Cytochrome P450BM3
  • Hydrogeanses
  • electronic coupling
  • cofactor free system

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