Structural and functional insights of GSU0105, a unique multiheme cytochrome from G. sulfurreducens

Fernandes, TM, Folgosa F, Teixeira M, Salgueiro CA, Morgado L.  2021.  Structural and functional insights of GSU0105, a unique multiheme cytochrome from G. sulfurreducens. Biophysical Journal.


Geobacter sulfurreducens possesses over 100 cytochromes that assure an effective electron transfer to the cell exterior. The most abundant group of cytochromes in this microorganism is the PpcA family, composed of five periplasmic triheme cytochromes with high structural homology and identical heme coordination (His-His). GSU0105 is a periplasmic triheme cytochrome synthetized by G. sulfurreducens in Fe(III)-reducing conditions but is not present in cultures grown on fumarate. This cytochrome has a low sequence identity with the PpcA family cytochromes and a different heme coordination, based on the analysis of its amino acid sequence. In this work, amino acid sequence analysis, site-directed mutagenesis, and complementary biophysical techniques, including ultraviolet-visible, circular dichroism, electron paramagnetic resonance, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies, were used to characterize GSU0105. The cytochrome has a low percentage of secondary structural elements, with features of α-helices and β-sheets. Nuclear magnetic resonance shows that the protein contains three low-spin hemes (Fe(II), S = 0) in the reduced state. Electron paramagnetic resonance shows that, in the oxidized state, one of the hemes becomes high-spin (Fe(III), S = 5/2), whereas the two others remain low-spin (Fe(III), S = 1/2). The data obtained also indicate that the heme groups have distinct axial coordination. The apparent midpoint reduction potential of GSU0105 (−154 mV) is pH independent in the physiological range. However, the pH modulates the reduction potential of the heme that undergoes the low- to high-spin interconversion. The reduction potential values of cytochrome GSU0105 are more distinct compared to those of the PpcA family members, providing the protein with a larger functional working redox potential range. Overall, the results obtained, together with an amino acid sequence analysis of different multiheme cytochrome families, indicate that GSU0105 is a member of a new group of triheme cytochromes.



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