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Alves, MN, Fernandes AP, Salgueiro CA, Paquete CM.  2016.  Unraveling the electron transfer processes of a nanowire protein from Geobacter sulfurreducens. BBA - Bioenergetics. 1857(1):7-13. AbstractWebsite

The extracellular electron transfer metabolism of Geobacter sulfurreducens is sustained by several multiheme c-type cytochromes. One of these is the dodecaheme cytochrome GSU1996 that belongs to a new sub-class of c-type cytochromes. GSU1996 is composed by four similar triheme domains (A-D). The C-terminal half of the molecule encompasses the domains C and D, which are connected by a small linker and the N-terminal half of the protein contains two domains (A and B) that form one structural unit. It was proposed that this protein works as an electrically conductive device in Geobacter sulfurreducens, transferring electrons within the periplasm or to outer-membrane cytochromes. In this work, a novel strategy was applied to characterize in detail the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of the hexaheme fragment CD of GSU1996. This characterization revealed the electron transfer process of GSU1996 for the first time, showing that a heme at the edge of the C-terminal of the protein is thermodynamic and kinetically competent to receive electrons from physiological redox partners. This information contributes towards understanding how this new sub-class of cytochromes functions as nanowires, and also increases the current knowledge of the extracellular electron transfer mechanisms in Geobacter sulfurreducens.

Antunes, JMA, Silva MA, Salgueiro CA, Morgado L.  2022.  Electron Flow From the Inner Membrane Towards the Cell Exterior in Geobacter sulfurreducens: Biochemical Characterization of Cytochrome CbcL. Frontiers in Microbiology. 13 AbstractWebsite

Exoelectrogenic microorganisms are in the spotlight due to their unique respiratory mechanisms and potential applications in distinct biotechnological fields, including bioremediation, bioenergy production and microbial electrosynthesis. These applications rely on the capability of these microorganisms to perform extracellular electron transfer, a mechanism that allows the bacteria to transfer electrons to the cell’s exterior by establishing functional interfaces between different multiheme cytochromes at the inner membrane, periplasmic space, and outer membrane. The multiheme cytochrome CbcL from Geobacter sulfurreducens is associated to the inner membrane and plays an essential role in the transfer of electrons to final electron acceptors with a low redox potential, as Fe(III) oxides and electrodes poised at −100 mV. CbcL has a transmembranar di-heme b-type cytochrome domain with six helices, linked to a periplasmic cytochrome domain with nine c-type heme groups. The complementary usage of ultraviolet-visible, circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance permitted the structural and functional characterization of CbcL’s periplasmic domain. The protein was found to have a high percentage of disordered regions and its nine hemes are low-spin and all coordinated by two histidine residues. The apparent midpoint reduction potential of the CbcL periplasmic domain was determined, suggesting a thermodynamically favorable transfer of electrons to the putative redox partner in the periplasm − the triheme cytochrome PpcA. The establishment of a redox complex between the two proteins was confirmed by probing the electron transfer reaction and the molecular interactions between CbcL and PpcA. The results obtained show for the first time how electrons are injected into the periplasm of Geobacter sulfurreducens for subsequent transfer to the cell’s exterior.