A metallocofactor containing iron, sulfur, copper, and nickel has been discovered in the enzyme carbon monoxide dehydrogenase/acetyl-CoA (coenzyme A) synthase from Moorella thermoacetica (f. Clostridium thermoaceticum). Our structure at 2.2 angstrom resolution reveals that the cofactor responsible for the assembly of acetyl-CoA contains a [Fe4S4] cubane bridged to a copper-nickel binuclear site. The presence of these three metals together in one cluster was unanticipated and suggests a newly discovered role for copper in biology. The different active sites of this bifunctional enzyme complex are connected via a channel, 138 angstroms long, that provides a conduit for carbon monoxide generated at the C-cluster on one subunit to be incorporated into acetyl-CoA at the A-cluster on the other subunit.
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