Volume 90 Issue 40 | p. 13 | News of The Week
Issue Date: October 1, 2012 | Web Date: September 28, 2012

Source Of Nitrogenase’s Carbide Found

Enzymology: Mysterious origin of carbide in nitrogen-fixing enzyme has been found
Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Life Sciences
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Analytical SCENE
Keywords: nitrogenase, FeMo cofactor, nitrogen fixation

In an effort to better understand nitrogenase—the essential biocatalyst that bacteria use to convert N2 into ammonia—researchers have now solved a mystery concerning the origins of a carbide ion in the enzyme complex. The work could lead to engineered versions of the enzyme that catalyze nitrogen fixation and related reactions for industrial applications such as ammonia production.

A decade ago, structural biologist Douglas C. Rees of Caltech and coworkers discovered a light atom . . .

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