Paul W. King

Paul W. King

Scientist IV

Photo of Paul King
(303) 384-6277
At NREL Since: 

Dr. Paul King joined NREL in 2001 as a postdoctoral associate to study the [FeFe]-hydrogenases of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Recently his group identified in this organism the proteins that function in the biosynthesis of the unique catalytic FeS-cluster, known as the H-cluster, of [FeFe]-hydrogenases. This discovery has led to the development of a biosynthetic system for production of [FeFe]-hydrogenases from both algal and bacterial organisms. Current areas of investigation include: 1) enzyme structure and function, 2) 3D-structure determination (in collaboration with Juan Fontecilla-Camps at CEA-Grenoble), 3) biophysical characterization of the catalytic H-cluster (in collaboration with Steve Cramer at LBNL), and 4) photobiochemical cell integration to develop models for bio-hybrid H2-production systems (in collaboration with Devens Gust, Tom Moore, and Ana Moore at ASU).

A collaboration with NREL-CSC and The Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign has led to the development of theoretical methods to study the relationship between [FeFe]-hydrogenase structure and the diffusion properties that are fundamental to H2 catalysis and O2 inactivation. The overall research aims are to better understand how [FeFe]-hydrogenases have evolved to be highly efficient catalysts (kcat ~6000 sec-1), to dissect the mechanisms of O2 inactivation, and to use this knowledge to engineer more robust enzyme variants for biotechnological applications.


  • 1986 B.S., Bacteriology and Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • 1989 M.S., Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • 2001 Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia

Selected Publications 

  1. Cohen, J.; Kim, K.; King, P.; Seibert, M.; Schulten, K. (2005). "Finding Gas Diffusion Pathways in Proteins: Application to O2 and H2 Transport in CpI [FeFe]-Hydrogenase and the Role of Packing Defects." Structure (13); pp. 1321-1329.
  2. Ghirardi, M.L., King, P.W., Posewitz, M.C., Maness, P.C., Fedorov, A., Kim, K., Cohen, J., Schulten, K., and Seibert, M. (2005). "Approaches to developing biological H(2)-photoproducing organisms and processes." Biochem Soc. Trans. (33); pp. 70-72.
  3. Posewitz, M.C., King, P.W., Smolinski, S.L., Zhang, L., Seibert, M., and Ghirardi, M.L. (2004). "Discovery of Two Novel Radical S-adenosylmethionine Proteins Required for the Assembly of an Active [Fe] hydrogenase." J. Biol. Chem. (279); pp. 25711-25720.

NREL Publications 

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