Bruce Wilson's Research


The Bacterium
The Enzyme
My Research
Other Interests


I am a bioinorganic chemist. Because we work largely with enzymes containing metal atoms in the active sites, we are also known as metalloenzymologists.

An enzyme is a biological catalyst, a protein that speeds up one particular reaction. The enzyme I study, called carbon monoxide dehydrogenase/acetyl-coenzyme A synthase (CODH/ACS) from the bacterium Moorella thermoacetica, is unusual for several reasons:

  1. Is is bifunctional, which means one enzyme catalyzes two different reactions
  2. Both reaction centers are connected by a molecular tunnel
  3. It supports a Ni-CH3 bond, one of only two organometallic bonds known in an enzyme.
  4. It contains a nickel, iron, and sulfur atoms in both active sites. Only four other types of enzymes have nickel in them
  5. The combination of Ni, Fe, and S in one place is eerily similar to the catalyst needed to do what is thought to be the first reaction that lead to the formation of life on Earth: the formaiton of the C-C bond from methane and carbon dioxide.

I describe here the research I did on this enzyme.

Contact Information

Postal address
Department of Chemistry, M.S. 179, Utah Valley State College, 800 W. University Parkway, Orem, Utah, 84058
Electronic mail

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Copyright 2003 Bruce Wilson
Last modified: 09/12/03