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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.

Morgado, L, Salgueiro CA.  2022.  Elucidation of complex respiratory chains: a straightforward strategy to monitor electron transfer between cytochromes, 02. Metallomics. AbstractWebsite

{Cytochromes are electron transfer proteins essential in various biological systems, playing crucial roles in the respiratory chains of bacteria. These proteins are particularly abundant in electrogenic microorganisms and are responsible for the efficient delivery of electrons to the cells’ exterior. The capability of sending electron outside the cells open new avenues to be explored for emerging biotechnological applications in bioremediation, microbial electrosynthesis and bioenergy fields. To develop these applications, it is critical to identify the different redox partners and elucidate the stepwise electron transfer along the respiratory paths. However, investigating direct electron transfer events between proteins with identical features in nearly all spectroscopic techniques is extremely challenging. NMR spectroscopy offers the possibility to overcome this difficulty by analysing the alterations of the spectral signatures of each protein caused by electron exchange events. The uncrowded NMR spectral regions containing the heme resonances of the cytochromes display unique and distinct signatures in the reduced and oxidized states, which can be explored to monitor electron transfer within the redox complex. In this study, we present a strategy for a fast and straightforward monitorization of electron transfer between c-type cytochromes, using as model a triheme periplasmic cytochrome (PpcA) and a membrane associated monoheme cytochrome (OmcF) from the electrogenic bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens. The comparison between the 1D 1H NMR spectra obtained for samples containing the two cytochromes and for samples containing the individual proteins clearly demonstrated a unidirectional electron transfer within the redox complex. This strategy provides a simple and straightforward means to elucidate complex biologic respiratory electron transfer chains.}

Pessanha, M, Rothery EL, Louro RO, Turner DL, Miles CS, Reid GA, Chapman SK, Xavier AV, Salgueiro CA.  2005.  Elucidation of the Functional Redox Behavior of Fumarate Reductase from Shewanella frigidimarina by NMR. Annals Magnetic Resonance. 4(1/2):24-28. AbstractWebsite

NMR spectroscopy has been applied with great success to study electron transfer proteins
with multiple redox centers. This study aimed to elucidate the redox behavior the enzyme fumarate
reductase from Shewanella frigidimarina and particularly to reveal the electron transfer mechanism
from the N-terminal domain to the active center. We developed a new strategy encompassing the
acquisition of 1H-EXSY bidimensional spectra for observation of chemical exchange connectivities in
partially oxidized samples of fcc3, estimation of the paramagnetic chemical shifts expected for the
heme substituents and their comparison with NMR spectra obtained in the fully oxidized protein. This
study allowed obtaining the order of oxidation of the different groups (II-I-III, IV) and gave insights of
the functional mechanisms that allow fcc3 to efficiently transfer electrons from the N-terminal domain
to the active center.

Dantas, JM, Morgado L, Catarino T, Kokhan O, Pokkuluri PR, Salgueiro CA.  2014.  Evidence for interaction between the triheme cytochrome PpcA from Geobacter sulfurreducens and anthrahydroquinone-2,6-disulfonate, an analog of the redox active components of humic substances. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1837(6):750-760. AbstractWebsite

The bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens displays an extraordinary respiratory versatility underpinning the diversity of electron donors and acceptors that can be used to sustain anaerobic growth. Remarkably, G. sulfurreducens can also use as electron donors the reduced forms of some acceptors, such as the humic substance analog anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS), a feature that confers environmentally competitive advantages to the organism. Using UV-visible and stopped-flow kinetic measurements we demonstrate that there is electron exchange between the triheme cytochrome PpcA from Gs and AQDS. 2D-(1)H-(15)N HSQC NMR spectra were recorded for (15)N-enriched PpcA samples, in the absence and presence of AQDS. Chemical shift perturbation measurements, at increasing concentration of AQDS, were used to probe the interaction region and to measure the binding affinity of the PpcA-AQDS complex. The perturbations on the NMR signals corresponding to the PpcA backbone NH and heme substituents showed that the region around heme IV interacts with AQDS through the formation of a complex with a definite life time in the NMR time scale. The comparison of the NMR data obtained for PpcA in the presence and absence of AQDS showed that the interaction is reversible. Overall, this study provides for the first time a clear illustration of the formation of an electron transfer complex between AQDS and a G. sulfurreducens triheme cytochrome, shedding light on the electron transfer pathways underlying the microbial oxidation of humics.

Portela, PC, Morgado L, Silva MA, Denkhaus L, Einsle O, Salgueiro CA.  2023.  Exploring oxidative stress pathways in Geobacter sulfurreducens: the redox network between MacA peroxidase and triheme periplasmic cytochromes. Frontiers in Microbiology. 14 AbstractWebsite

The recent reclassification of the strict anaerobe Geobacter sulfurreducens bacterium as aerotolerant brought attention for oxidative stress protection pathways. Although the electron transfer pathways for oxygen detoxification are not well established, evidence was obtained for the formation of a redox complex between the periplasmic triheme cytochrome PpcA and the diheme cytochrome peroxidase MacA. In the latter, the reduction of the high-potential heme triggers a conformational change that displaces the axial histidine of the low-potential heme with peroxidase activity. More recently, a possible involvement of the triheme periplasmic cytochrome family (PpcA-E) in the protection from oxidative stress in G. sulfurreducens was suggested. To evaluate this hypothesis, we investigated the electron transfer reaction and the biomolecular interaction between each PpcA-E cytochrome and MacA. Using a newly developed method that relies on the different NMR spectral signatures of the heme proteins, we directly monitored the electron transfer reaction from reduced PpcA-E cytochromes to oxidized MacA. The results obtained showed a complete electron transfer from the cytochromes to the high-potential heme of MacA. This highlights PpcA-E cytochromes’ efficient role in providing the necessary reducing power to mitigate oxidative stress situations, hence contributing to a better knowledge of oxidative stress protection pathways in G. sulfurreducens.

Morgado, L, Dantas JM, Bruix M, Londer YY, Salgueiro CA.  2012.  Fine Tuning of Redox Networks on Multiheme Cytochromes from Geobacter sulfurreducens Drives Physiological Electron/Proton Energy Transduction. Bioinorganic Chemistry and Applications. 2012(Article ID 298739):1-9. AbstractWebsite

The bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens (Gs) can grow in the presence of extracellular terminal acceptors, a property that is currently explored to harvest electricity from aquatic sediments and waste organic matter into microbial fuel cells. A family composed of five triheme cytochromes (PpcA-E) was identified in Gs. These cytochromes play a crucial role by bridging the electron transfer from oxidation of cytoplasmic donors to the cell exterior and assisting the reduction of extracellular terminal acceptors. The detailed thermodynamic characterization of such proteins showed that PpcA and PpcD have an important redox-Bohr effect that might implicate these proteins in the e−/H+ coupling mechanisms to sustain cellular growth. The physiological relevance of the redox-Bohr effect in these proteins was studied by determining the fractional contribution of each individual redox-microstate at different pH values. For both proteins, oxidation progresses from a particular protonated microstate to a particular deprotonated one, over specific pH ranges. The preferred e−/H+ transfer pathway established by the selected microstates indicates that both proteins are functionally designed to couple e−/H+ transfer at the physiological pH range for cellular growth.

Salgueiro, CA, Morgado L, Silva MA, Ferreira MR, Fernandes TM, Portela PC.  2022.  From iron to bacterial electroconductive filaments: Exploring cytochrome diversity using Geobacter bacteria. Coordination Chemistry Reviews. 452:214284. AbstractWebsite

Iron is the most versatile of all biochemically active metals, with variability encompassing its electronic configuration, number of unpaired electrons, type of ligands and iron-complexes stability. The versatility of iron properties is transposed to the proteins it can be associated to, especially relevant in the case of heme proteins. In this Review, the structural and functional properties of heme proteins are revisited, with particular focus on c-type cytochromes. The genome of Geobacter bacteria encodes for an unusually high number of assorted c-type cytochromes and, for this reason, they are used in this Review as a showcase of the cytochrome diversity. In the last decades, a vast portfolio of cytochromes has been revealed in these bacteria, with most of them defining new classes, ranging from monoheme to the recently identified polymeric assembly of multiheme cytochromes that forms micrometer-long electrically conductive filaments. These discoveries were on pace with the development of modern NMR equipment and advances in protein isotopic labeling methods, which are also revisited in this Review. Finally, following the description of the current state of the art of Geobacter cytochromes, examples on how the available structural and functional information was explored to structurally map protein–protein and protein–ligand interacting regions in redox complexes, and hence elucidate Geobacter’s respiratory pathways, are presented.

Dantas, JM, Tomaz DM, Morgado L, Salgueiro CA.  2013.  Functional characterization of PccH, a key cytochrome for electron transfer from electrodes to the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens. FEBS Letters. 587(16):2662-2668. AbstractWebsite

The cytochrome PccH from Geobacter sulfurreducens (Gs) plays a crucial role in current-consuming fumarate-reducing biofilms. Deletion of pccH gene inhibited completely electron transfer from electrodes toward Gs cells. The pccH gene was cloned and the protein heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli. Complementary biophysical techniques including CD, UV-visible and NMR spectroscopy were used to characterize PccH. This cytochrome contains one low-spin c-type heme with His-Met axial coordination and unusual low-reduction potential. This reduction potential is pH-dependent, within the Gs physiological pH range, and is discussed within the context of the electron transfer mechanisms from electrodes to Gs cells.

Fernandes, TM, Silva MA, Morgado L, Salgueiro CA.  2023.  Hemes on a string: insights on the functional mechanisms of PgcA from Geobacter sulfurreducens. Journal of Biological Chemistry. :105167. AbstractWebsite

Microbial extracellular reduction of insoluble compounds requires soluble electron shuttles that diffuse in the extracellular environment, freely diffusing cytochromes or direct contact with cellular conductive appendages that release or harvest electrons to assure a continuous balance between cellular requirements and environmental conditions. In this work, we produced and characterized the three cytochrome domains of PgcA, an extracellular triheme cytochrome that contributes to Fe(III) and Mn(IV) oxides reduction in Geobacter sulfurreducens. The three domains are structurally homologous, but their heme groups show variable axial coordination and reduction potential values. Electron transfer experiments monitored by NMR and visible spectroscopy show the variable extent to which the domains promiscuously exchange electrons, while reducing different electron acceptors. The results suggest that PgcA is part of a new class of cytochromes - microbial heme-tethered redox strings - that use low-complexity protein stretches to bind metals and promote intra- and intermolecular electron transfer events through its cytochrome domains.

Turner, DL, Salgueiro CA, Catarino T, Legall J, Xavier AV.  1994.  Homotropic and heterotropic cooperativity in the tetrahaem cytochrome c3 from Desulfovibrio vulgaris. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 1187(2):232-235. AbstractWebsite

The thermodynamic parameters which govern the homotropic (e−/e−) and heterotropic (e−/H+) cooperativity in the tetrahaem cytochrome c3 isolated from Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough) were determined, using the paramagnetic shifts of haem methyl groups in the NMR spectra of intermediate oxidized states at different pH levels. A model is put forward to explain how the network of positive and negative cooperativities between the four haems and acid/base group(s) enables the protein to achieve a proton-assisted 2e− step.

Fernandes, AP, Nunes TC, Paquete CM, Salgueiro CA.  2017.  Interaction studies between periplasmic cytochromes provide insights into extracellular electron transfer pathways of Geobacter sulfurreducens. Biochemical Journal. 474:797–808., Number 5: Portland Press Limited AbstractWebsite

Accepted Manuscript online January 16, 2017.Geobacter bacteria usually prevail among other microorganisms in soils and sediments where Fe(III) reduction has a central role. This reduction is achieved by extracellular electron transfer (EET), where the electrons are exported from the interior of the cell to the surrounding environment. Periplasmic cytochromes play an important role in establishing an interface between inner and outer membrane electron transfer components. In addition, periplasmic cytochromes, in particular nanowire cytochromes that contain at least 12 haem groups, have been proposed to play a role in electron storage in conditions of an environmental lack of electron acceptors. Up to date, no redox partners have been identified in Geobacter sulfurreducens, and concomitantly, the EET and electron storage mechanisms remain unclear. In this work, NMR chemical shift perturbation measurements were used to probe for an interaction between the most abundant periplasmic cytochrome PpcA and the dodecahaem cytochrome GSU1996, one of the proposed nanowire cytochromes in G. sulfurreducens. The perturbations on the haem methyl signals of GSU1996 and PpcA showed that the proteins form a transient redox complex in an interface that involves haem groups from two different domains located at the C-terminal of GSU1996. Overall, the present study provides for the first time a clear evidence for an interaction between periplasmic cytochromes that might be relevant for the EET and electron storage pathways in G. sulfurreducens.1D, one-dimensional; CbcL, c- and b-type cytochrome for low potential; EET, extracellular electron transfer; HP, His-patch; ImcH, inner membrane c-type cytochrome; MacA, metal-reduction-associated cytochrome; NaPi, sodium phosphate; NBAF, acetate-fumarate medium; NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance; PpcA, periplasmic c-type cytochrome; SDS–PAGE, sodium dodecyl sulphate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; STC, small tetrahaem cytochrome.

Fernandes, AP, Couto I, Morgado L, Londer YY, Salgueiro CA.  2008.  Isotopic labeling of c-type multiheme cytochromes overexpressed in E. coli. Protein Expression and Purification. 59(1):182-188. AbstractWebsite

Progresses made in bacterial genome sequencing show a remarkable profusion of multiheme c-type cytochromes in many bacteria, highlighting the importance of these proteins in different cellular events. However, the characterization of multiheme cytochromes has been significantly retarded by the numerous experimental challenges encountered by researchers who attempt to overexpress these proteins, especially if isotopic labeling is required. Here we describe a methodology for isotopic labeling of multiheme cytochromes c overexpressed in Escherichia coli, using the triheme cytochrome PpcA from Geobacter sulfurreducens as a model protein. By combining different strategies previously described and using E. coli cells containing the gene coding for PpcA and the cytochrome c maturation gene cluster, an experimental labeling methodology was developed that is based on two major aspects: (i) use of a two-step culture growth procedure, where cell growth in rich media was followed by transfer to minimal media containing 15N-labeled ammonium chloride, and (ii) incorporation of the heme precursor delta-aminolevulinic acid in minimal culture media. The yields of labeled protein obtained were comparable to those obtained for expression of PpcA in rich media. Proper protein folding and labeling were confirmed by UV–visible and NMR spectroscopy. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a recombinant multiheme cytochrome labeling and it represents a major breakthrough for functional and structural studies of multiheme cytochromes.

Chabert, V, Babel L, Füeg MP, Karamash M, Madivoli ES, Herault N, Dantas JM, Salgueiro CA, Giese B, Fromm KM.  2020.  Kinetics and Mechanism of Mineral Respiration: How Iron Hemes Synchronize Electron Transfer Rates. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 59:12331-12336., Number 30 AbstractWebsite

Abstract Anaerobic microorganisms of the Geobacter genus are effective electron sources for the synthesis of nanoparticles, for bioremediation of polluted water, and for the production of electricity in fuel cells. In multistep reactions, electrons are transferred via iron/heme cofactors of c-type cytochromes from the inner cell membrane to extracellular metal ions, which are bound to outer membrane cytochromes. We measured electron production and electron flux rates to 5×105 e s−1 per G. sulfurreducens. Remarkably, these rates are independent of the oxidants, and follow zero order kinetics. It turned out that the microorganisms regulate electron flux rates by increasing their Fe2+/Fe3+ ratios in the multiheme cytochromes whenever the activity of the extracellular metal oxidants is diminished. By this mechanism the respiration remains constant even when oxidizing conditions are changing. This homeostasis is a vital condition for living systems, and makes G. sulfurreducens a versatile electron source.

Teixeira, LR, Cordas CM, Fonseca MP, Duke NEC, Pokkuluri PR, Salgueiro CA.  2020.  Modulation of the Redox Potential and Electron/Proton Transfer Mechanisms in the Outer Membrane Cytochrome OmcF From Geobacter sulfurreducens. Frontiers in Microbiology. 10:2941. AbstractWebsite

The monoheme outer membrane cytochrome F (OmcF) from Geobacter sulfurreducens plays an important role in Fe(III) reduction and electric current production. The electrochemical characterization of this cytochrome has shown that its redox potential is modulated by the solution pH (redox-Bohr effect) endowing the protein with the necessary properties to couple electron and proton transfer in the physiological range. The analysis of the OmcF structures in the reduced and oxidized states showed that with the exception of the side chain of histidine 47 (His47), all other residues with protonatable side chains are distant from the heme iron and, therefore, are unlikely to affect the redox potential of the protein. The protonatable site at the imidazole ring of His47 is in the close proximity to the heme and, therefore, this residue was suggested as the redox-Bohr center. In the present work, we tested this hypothesis by replacing the His47 with non-protonatable residues (isoleucine – OmcFH47I and phenylalanine – OmcFH47F). The structure of the mutant OmcFH47I was determined by X-ray crystallography to 1.13 Å resolution and showed only minimal changes at the site of the mutation. Both mutants were 15N-labeled and their overall folding was confirmed to be the same as the wild-type by NMR spectroscopy. The pH dependence of the redox potential of the mutants was measured by cyclic voltammetry. Compared to the wild-type protein, the magnitude of the redox-Bohr effect in the mutants was smaller, but not fully abolished, confirming the role of His47 on the pH modulation of OmcF’s redox potential. However, the pH effect on the heme substituents’ NMR chemical shifts suggested that the heme propionate P13 also contributes to the overall redox-Bohr effect in OmcF. In physiological terms, the contribution of two independent acid–base centers to the observed redox-Bohr effect confers OmcF a higher versatility to environmental changes by coupling electron/proton transfer within a wider pH range.

Ferreira, MR, Fernandes TM, Turner DL, Salgueiro CA.  2022.  Molecular geometries of the heme axial ligands from the triheme cytochrome PpcF from Geobacter metallireducens reveal a conserved heme core architecture. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 723:109220. AbstractWebsite

Electroactive Geobacter bacteria can perform extracellular electron transfer and present a wide metabolic versatility. These bacteria reduce organic, toxic and radioactive compounds, and produce electric current while interacting with electrodes, making them interesting targets for numerous biotechnological applications. Their global electrochemical responses rely on an efficient interface between the inside and the cell's exterior, which is driven by the highly abundant periplasmic triheme PpcA-family cytochromes. The functional features of these cytochromes have been studied in G. sulfurreducens and G. metallireducens, and although they share a high degree of structural homology and sequence identity, their properties are quite distinct. In this work, the heme axial ligand geometries and the magnetic properties of PpcF from G. metallireducens were determined. The data obtained constitute important constraints for the determination of its solution structure in the oxidized state and indicate that the (i) heme core architecture; (ii) axial ligands geometries and (iii) magnetic properties of the cytochrome are conserved compared to the other members of the PpcA-families. Furthermore, the results also indicate that the heme arrangement is crucial to maintain an intrinsic regulation of the protein's redox properties and hence its electron transfer efficiency and functionality.

Dantas, JM, Kokhan O, Pokkuluri RP, Salgueiro CA.  2015.  Molecular interaction studies revealed the bifunctional behavior of triheme cytochrome PpcA from Geobacter sulfurreducens toward the redox active analog of humic substances. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 1847:1129-1138., Number 10 AbstractWebsite

Abstract Humic substances (HS) constitute a significant fraction of natural organic matter in terrestrial and aquatic environments and can act as terminal electron acceptors in anaerobic microbial respiration. Geobacter sulfurreducens has a remarkable respiratory versatility and can utilize the \{HS\} analog anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS) as a terminal electron acceptor or its reduced form (AH2QDS) as an electron donor. Previous studies set the triheme cytochrome PpcA as a key component for \{HS\} respiration in G. sulfurreducens, but the process is far from fully understood. In this work, \{NMR\} chemical shift perturbation measurements were used to map the interaction region between PpcA and AH2QDS, and to measure their binding affinity. The results showed that the \{AH2QDS\} binds reversibly to the more solvent exposed edge of PpcA heme IV. The \{NMR\} and visible spectroscopies coupled to redox measurements were used to determine the thermodynamic parameters of the PpcA:quinol complex. The higher reduction potential of heme İV\} (− 127 mV) compared to that of \{AH2QDS\} (− 184 mV) explains why the electron transfer is more favorable in the case of reduction of the cytochrome by the quinol. The clear evidence obtained for the formation of an electron transfer complex between \{AH2QDS\} and PpcA, combined with the fact that the protein also formed a redox complex with AQDS, revealed for the first time the bifunctional behavior of PpcA toward an analog of the HS. Such behavior might confer selective advantage to G. sulfurreducens, which can utilize the \{HS\} in any redox state available in the environment for its metabolic needs.

Ferreira, MR, Dantas JM, Salgueiro CA.  2017.  Molecular interactions between Geobacter sulfurreducens triheme cytochromes and the electron acceptor Fe(iii) citrate studied by NMR. Dalton Trans.. 46:2350-2359.: The Royal Society of Chemistry AbstractWebsite

Proteomic and genetic studies have identified a family of five triheme cytochromes (PpcA-E) that are essential in the iron respiratory pathways of Geobacter sulfurreducens. These include the reduction of Fe(iii) soluble chelated forms or Fe(iii) oxides{,} which can be used as terminal acceptors by G. sulfurreducens. The relevance of these cytochromes in the respiratory pathways of soluble or insoluble forms of iron is quite distinct. In fact{,} while PpcD had a higher abundance in the Fe(iii) oxides supplanted G. sulfurreducens cultures{,} PpcA{,} PpcB and PpcE were important in Fe(iii) citrate supplanted cultures. Based on these observations we probed the molecular interactions between these cytochromes and Fe(iii) citrate by NMR spectroscopy. NMR spectra were recorded for natural abundance and 15N-enriched PpcA{,} PpcB or PpcE samples at increasing amounts of Fe(iii) citrate. The addition of this molecule caused pronounced perturbations on the line width of the protein{'}s NMR signals{,} which were used to map the interaction region between each cytochrome and the Fe(iii) citrate molecule. The perturbations on the NMR signals corresponding to the backbone NH and heme methyl substituents showed that complex interfaces consist of a well-defined patch{,} which surrounds the more solvent-exposed heme IV methyl groups in each cytochrome. Overall{,} this study provides for the first time a clear illustration of the formation of an electron transfer complex between Fe(iii) citrate and G. sulfurreducens triheme cytochromes{,} shown to be crucial in this respiratory pathway.

Dantas, JM, Ferreira MR, Catarino T, Kokhan O, Pokkuluri RP, Salgueiro CA.  2018.  Molecular interactions between Geobacter sulfurreducens triheme cytochromes and the redox active analogue for humic substances. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 1859:619-630., Number 8 AbstractWebsite

The bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens can transfer electrons to quinone moieties of humic substances or to anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS), a model for the humic acids. The reduced form of AQDS (AH2QDS) can also be used as energy source by G. sulfurreducens. Such bidirectional utilization of humic substances confers competitive advantages to these bacteria in Fe(III) enriched environments. Previous studies have shown that the triheme cytochrome PpcA from G. sulfurreducens has a bifunctional behavior toward the humic substance analogue. It can reduce AQDS but the protein can also be reduced by AH2QDS. Using stopped-flow kinetic measurements we were able to demonstrate that other periplasmic members of the PpcA-family in G. sulfurreducens (PpcB, PpcD and PpcE) also showed the same behavior. The extent of the electron transfer is thermodynamically controlled favoring the reduction of the cytochromes. NMR spectra recorded for 13C,15N-enriched samples in the presence increasing amounts of AQDS showed perturbations in the chemical shift signals of the cytochromes. The chemical shift perturbations on cytochromes backbone NH and 1H heme methyl signals were used to map their interaction regions with AQDS, showing that each protein forms a low-affinity binding complex through well-defined positive surface regions in the vicinity of heme IV (PpcB, PpcD and PpcE) and I (PpcE). Docking calculations performed using NMR chemical shift perturbations allowed modeling the interactions between AQDS and each cytochrome at a molecular level. Overall, the results obtained provided important structural-functional relationships to rationalize the microbial respiration of humic substances in G. sulfurreducens.

Paquete, CM, Morgado L, Salgueiro CA, Louro RO.  2022.  Molecular Mechanisms of Microbial Extracellular Electron Transfer: The Importance of Multiheme Cytochromes, 2022-06-27. FBL. 27(6) AbstractWebsite

Extracellular electron transfer is a key metabolic process of many organismsthat enables them to exchange electrons with extracellular electrondonors/acceptors. The discovery of organisms with these abilities and theunderstanding of their electron transfer processes has become a priority for thescientific and industrial community, given the growing interest on the use ofthese organisms in sustainable biotechnological processes. For example, inbioelectrochemical systems electrochemical active organisms can exchangeelectrons with an electrode, allowing the production of energy and added-valuecompounds, among other processes. In these systems, electrochemical activeorganisms exchange electrons with an electrode through direct or indirectmechanisms, using, in most cases, multiheme cytochromes. In numerouselectroactive organisms, these proteins form a conductive pathway that allowselectrons produced from cellular metabolism to be transferred across the cellsurface for the reduction of an electrode, or vice-versa. Here, the mechanisms bywhich the most promising electroactive bacteria perform extracellular electrontransfer will be reviewed, emphasizing the proteins involved in these pathways.The ability of some of the organisms to perform bidirectional electron transferand the pathways used will also be highlighted.

Silva, MA, Salgueiro CA.  2021.  Multistep Signaling in Nature: A Close-Up of Geobacter Chemotaxis Sensing. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 22, Number 16 AbstractWebsite

Environmental changes trigger the continuous adaptation of bacteria to ensure their survival. This is possible through a variety of signal transduction pathways involving chemoreceptors known as methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins (MCP) that allow the microorganisms to redirect their mobility towards favorable environments. MCP are two-component regulatory (or signal transduction) systems (TCS) formed by a sensor and a response regulator domain. These domains synchronize transient protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation events to convert the stimuli into an appropriate cellular response. In this review, the variability of TCS domains and the most common signaling mechanisms are highlighted. This is followed by the description of the overall cellular topology, classification and mechanisms of MCP. Finally, the structural and functional properties of a new family of MCP found in Geobacter sulfurreducens are revisited. This bacterium has a diverse repertoire of chemosensory systems, which represents a striking example of a survival mechanism in challenging environments. Two G. sulfurreducens MCP—GSU0582 and GSU0935—are members of a new family of chemotaxis sensor proteins containing a periplasmic PAS-like sensor domain with a c-type heme. Interestingly, the cellular location of this domain opens new routes to the understanding of the redox potential sensing signaling transduction pathways.

Pessanha, M, Turner DL, Rothery EL, Pankhurst KL, Reid GA, Chapman SK, Xavier AV, Salgueiro CA.  2003.  NMR redox studies of flavocytochrome c3 from Shewanella frigidimarina. Inorganica Chimica Acta. 356:379-381. AbstractWebsite

Flavocytochrome c3 is a periplasmic fumarate reductase with Mr 63.8 kDa, isolated from Shewanella frigidimarina NCIMB400. NMR spectroscopy was tested for its potential to elucidate the oxidation profile of each of the four haem groups in the enzyme, using the strategy developed previously to perform the thermodynamic characterization of small tetrahaem cytochromes (FEBS Lett. 314 (1992) 155). This work shows that, despite the large size of the protein, 2D-NMR NOESY experiments can be used to obtain the network of chemical exchange connectivities, between the signals of specific haem groups in sequential oxidation stages.

Pessanha, M, Brennan L, Xavier AV, Cuthbertson PM, Reid GA, Chapman SK, Turner DL, Salgueiro CA.  2001.  NMR structure of the haem core of a novel tetrahaem cytochrome isolated from Shewanella frigidimarina: identification of the haem-specific axial ligands and order of oxidation. FEBS Letters. 489(1):8-13. AbstractWebsite

The tetrahaem cytochrome isolated during anaerobic growth of Shewanella frigidimarina NCIMB400 is a small protein (86 residues) involved in electron transfer to Fe(III), which can be used as a terminal respiratory oxidant by this bacterium. A 3D solution structure model of the reduced form of the cytochrome has been determined using NMR data in order to determine the relative orientation of the haems. The haem core architecture of S. frigidimarina tetrahaem cytochrome differs from that found in all small tetrahaem cytochromes c3 so far isolated from strict anaerobes, but has some similarity to the N-terminal cytochrome domain of flavocytochrome c3 isolated from the same bacterium. NMR signals obtained for the four haems of S. frigidimarina tetrahaem cytochrome at all stages of oxidation were cross-assigned to the solution structure using the complete network of chemical exchange connectivities. Thus, the order in which each haem in the structure becomes oxidised was determined.

Turner, DL, Salgueiro CA, Catarino T, Legall J, Xavier AV.  1996.  NMR Studies of Cooperativity in the Tetrahaem Cytochrome c3 from Desulfovibrio vulgaris. European Journal of Biochemistry. 241(3):723-731. AbstractWebsite

The thermodynamic properties of the Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough) tetrahaem cytochrome c3 (Dvc3) are rationalised by a model which involves both homotropic (e−/e−) and heterotropic (e−/H+) cooperativity. The paramagnetic shifts of a methyl group from each haem of the DVc3 have been determined in each stage of oxidation at several pH values by means of two-dimensional exchange NMR. The thermodynamic parameters are obtained by fitting the model to the NMR data and to redox titrations followed by visible spectroscopy. They show significant positive cooperativity between two of the haems whereas the remaining interactions appear to be largely electrostatic in origin. These parameters imply that the protein undergoes a proton-assisted two-electron transfer which can be used for energy transduction. Comparison with the crystal structure together with measurement of the kinetics of proton exchange suggest that the pH dependence is mediated by a charged residue(s) readily acessible to the solvent and close to haem I.

Dantas, JM, Brausemann A, Einsle O, Salgueiro CA.  2017.  NMR studies of the interaction between inner membrane-associated and periplasmic cytochromes from Geobacter sulfurreducens. FEBS Letters. 591:1657–1666. AbstractWebsite

Geobacter sulfurreducens is a dissimilatory metal reducing bacterium with notable properties and significance in biotechnological applications. Biochemical studies suggest that the inner membrane-associated diheme cytochrome MacA and the periplasmic triheme cytochrome PpcA from G. sulfurreducens can exchange electrons. In this work, NMR chemical shift perturbation measurements were used to map the interface region and to measure the binding affinity between PpcA and MacA. The results show that MacA binds to PpcA in a cleft defined by hemes I and IV, favoring the contact between PpcA heme IV and the MacA high potential heme. The dissociation constant values indicate the formation of a low affinity complex between the proteins, which is consistent with the transient interaction observed in electron transfer complexes.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Bird, LJ, Saraiva IH, Park S, Calçada EO, Salgueiro CA, Nitschke W, Louro RO, Newman DK.  2014.  Nonredundant roles for cytochrome c2 and two high-potential iron-sulfur proteins in the photoferrotroph Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1. J Bacteriol. 196(4):850-858. AbstractWebsite

The purple bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 expresses multiple small high-potential redox proteins during photoautotrophic growth, including two high-potential iron-sulfur proteins (HiPIPs) (PioC and Rpal_4085) and a cytochrome c2. We evaluated the role of these proteins in TIE-1 through genetic, physiological, and biochemical analyses. Deleting the gene encoding cytochrome c2 resulted in a loss of photosynthetic ability by TIE-1, indicating that this protein cannot be replaced by either HiPIP in cyclic electron flow. PioC was previously implicated in photoferrotrophy, an unusual form of photosynthesis in which reducing power is provided through ferrous iron oxidation. Using cyclic voltammetry (CV), electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, and flash-induced spectrometry, we show that PioC has a midpoint potential of 450 mV, contains all the typical features of a HiPIP, and can reduce the reaction centers of membrane suspensions in a light-dependent manner at a much lower rate than cytochrome c2. These data support the hypothesis that PioC linearly transfers electrons from iron, while cytochrome c2 is required for cyclic electron flow. Rpal_4085, despite having spectroscopic characteristics and a reduction potential similar to those of PioC, is unable to reduce the reaction center. Rpal_4085 is upregulated by the divalent metals Fe(II), Ni(II), and Co(II), suggesting that it might play a role in sensing or oxidizing metals in the periplasm. Taken together, our results suggest that these three small electron transfer proteins perform different functions in the cell.