What They Saw
The open reading frame (ORF) in the downstream region had good homology to hypE genes in other organisms. A few bases of hypD and hypE genes overlap, suggesting that they're translated together so there should be equal amounts present so they can work together equally.
They knocked out hypE by inserting a lacZ and kanamycin resistance cassette, which also let them detect expression (the product of lacZ can break down certain compounds to make color, so color intensity can be measured as a proxy for enzyme activity). It seemed like transcription of all the hox and hyp genes was in the same direction, and knocking out hypE meant that A. vinelandii couldn't oxidize hydrogen anymore.
They also noticed that there was a higher proportion of unprocessed hydrogenase structural component, so HypE might be involved in processing; this seems true in other organisms. It also affects the localization of hydrogenase, soluble or membrane-bound. It may affect pre-protein folding.
What This Means
This study completes the discovery of the whole uptake hydrogenase gene set in A. vinelandii. It's pretty similar to the gene sets in other organisms, including A. chroococcum, and sequencing A. vinelandii's genome confirmed the results.