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Pokkuluri, PR, Pessanha M, Londer YY, Wood SJ, Duke NEC, Wilton R, Catarino T, Salgueiro CA, Schiffer M.  2008.  Structures and Solution Properties of Two Novel Periplasmic Sensor Domains with c-Type Heme from Chemotaxis Proteins of Geobacter sulfurreducens: Implications for Signal Transduction. Journal of Molecular Biology. 377(5):1498-1517. AbstractWebsite

Periplasmic sensor domains from two methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins from Geobacter sulfurreducens (encoded by genes GSU0935 and GSU0582) were expressed in Escherichia coli. The sensor domains were isolated, purified, characterized in solution, and their crystal structures were determined. In the crystal, both sensor domains form swapped dimers and show a PAS-type fold. The swapped segment consists of two helices of about 45 residues at the N terminus with the hemes located between the two monomers. In the case of the GSU0582 sensor, the dimer contains a crystallographic 2-fold symmetry and the heme is coordinated by an axial His and a water molecule. In the case of the GSU0935 sensor, the crystals contain a non-crystallographic dimer, and surprisingly, the coordination of the heme in each monomer is different; monomer A heme has His-Met ligation and monomer B heme has His-water ligation as found in the GSU0582 sensor. The structures of these sensor domains are the first structures of PAS domains containing covalently bound heme. Optical absorption, electron paramagnetic resonance and NMR spectroscopy have revealed that the heme groups of both sensor domains are high-spin and low-spin in the oxidized and reduced forms, respectively, and that the spin-state interconversion involves a heme axial ligand replacement. Both sensor domains bind NO in their ferric and ferrous forms but bind CO only in the reduced form. The binding of both NO and CO occurs via an axial ligand exchange process, and is fully reversible. The reduction potentials of the sensor domains differ by 95 mV (− 156 mV and − 251 mV for sensors GSU0582 and GSU0935, respectively). The swapped dimerization of these sensor domains and redox-linked ligand switch might be related to the mechanism of signal transduction by these chemotaxis proteins.

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.

Portela, PC, Fernandes TM, Dantas JM, Ferreira MR, Salgueiro CA.  2018.  Biochemical and functional insights on the triheme cytochrome PpcA from Geobacter metallireducens. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 644:8-16. AbstractWebsite

G. metallireducens bacterium has highly versatile respiratory pathways that provide the microorganism an enormous potential for many biotechnological applications. However, little is known about the structural and functional properties of its electron transfer components. In this work, the periplasmic cytochrome PpcA from G. metallireducens was studied in detail for the first time using complementary biophysical techniques, including UV–visible, CD and NMR spectroscopy. The results obtained showed that PpcA contains three low-spin c-type heme groups with His-His axial coordination, a feature also observed for its homologue in G. sulfurreducens. However, despite the high sequence homology between the two cytochromes, important structural and functional differences were observed. The comparative analysis of the backbone, side chain and heme substituents NMR signals revealed differences in the relative orientation of the hemes I and III. In addition, redox titrations followed by visible spectroscopy showed that the redox potential values for PpcA from G. metallireducens (−78 and −93 mV at pH 7 and 8, respectively) are considerably less negative. Overall, this study provides biochemical and biophysical data of a key cytochrome from G. metallireducens, paving the way to understand the extracellular electron transfer mechanisms in these bacteria.

Portela, PC, Dantas JM, Salgueiro CA.  2020.  Backbone, side chain and heme resonance assignment of the triheme cytochrome PpcA from Geobacter metallireducens in the oxidized state, 2020. Biomol NMR Assign. 14(1):31-36. AbstractWebsite

The bacterium Geobacter metallireducens is capable of transferring electrons to the cell exterior, a process designated extracellular electron transfer. This mechanism allows the microorganism to reduce extracellular acceptors such as Fe(III) (hydr)oxides and water toxic and/or radioactive contaminants including Cr(VI) and U(VI). It is also capable of oxidizing waste water aromatic organic compounds being an important microorganism for bioremediation of polluted waters. Extracellular electron transfer also allows electricity harvesting from microbial fuel cells, a promising sustainable form of energy production. However, extracellular electron transfer processes in this microorganism are still poorly characterized. The triheme c-type cytochrome PpcA from G. metallireducens is abundant in the periplasm and is crucial for electron transfer between the cytoplasm and the cell’s exterior. In this work, we report near complete assignment of backbone, side chain and heme resonances for PpcA in the oxidized state that will permit its structure determination and identification of interactions with physiological redox partners.

Portela, PC, Silva MA, Teixeira LR, Salgueiro CA.  2021.  A unique aromatic residue modulates the redox range of a periplasmic multiheme cytochrome from Geobacter metallireducens. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 296:100711. AbstractWebsite

Geobacter bacteria are able to transfer electrons to the exterior of the cell and reduce extracellular electron acceptors including toxic/radioactive metals and electrode surfaces, with potential applications in bioremediation or electricity harvesting. The triheme c-type cytochrome PpcA from Geobacter metallireducens plays a crucial role in bridging the electron transfer from the inner to the outer membrane, ensuring an effective extracellular electron transfer. This cytochrome shares 80% identity with PpcA from Geobacter sulfurreducens, but their redox properties are markedly different, thus determining the distinctive working redox potential ranges in the two bacteria. PpcA from G. metallireducens possesses two extra aromatic amino acids (Phe-6 and Trp-45) in its hydrophobic heme core, whereas PpcA from G. sulfurreducens has a leucine and a methionine in the equivalent positions. Given the different nature of these residues in the two cytochromes, we have hypothesized that the extra aromatic amino acids could be partially responsible for the observed functional differences. In this work, we have replaced Phe-6 and Trp-45 residues by their nonaromatic counterparts in PpcA from G. sulfurreducens. Using redox titrations followed by UV–visible and NMR spectroscopy we observed that residue Trp-45 shifted the redox potential range 33% toward that of PpcA from G. sulfurreducens, whereas Phe-6 produced a negligible effect. For the first time, it is shown that the inclusion of an aromatic residue at the heme core can modulate the working redox range in abundant periplasmic proteins, paving the way to engineer bacterial strains for optimal microbial bioelectrochemical applications.

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Qian, X, Mester T, Morgado L, Arakawa T, Sharma ML, Inoue K, Joseph C, Salgueiro CA, Maroney MJ, Lovley DR.  2011.  Biochemical characterization of purified OmcS, a c-type cytochrome required for insoluble Fe(III) reduction in Geobacter sulfurreducens. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 1807(4):404-412. AbstractWebsite

Previous studies with Geobacter sulfurreducens have demonstrated that OmcS, an abundant c-type cytochrome that is only loosely bound to the outer surface, plays an important role in electron transfer to Fe(III) oxides as well as other extracellular electron acceptors. In order to further investigate the function of OmcS, it was purified from a strain that overproduces the protein. Purified OmcS had a molecular mass of 47 015 Da, and six low-spin bis-histidinyl hexacoordinated heme groups. Its midpoint redox potential was −212 mV. A thermal stability analysis showed that the cooperative melting of purified OmcS occurs in the range of 65–82 °C. Far UV circular dichroism spectroscopy indicated that the secondary structure of purified OmcS consists of about 10% α-helix and abundant disordered structures. Dithionite-reduced OmcS was able to transfer electrons to a variety of substrates of environmental importance including insoluble Fe(III) oxide, Mn(IV) oxide and humic substances. Stopped flow analysis revealed that the reaction rate of OmcS oxidation has a hyperbolic dependence on the concentration of the studied substrates. A ten-fold faster reaction rate with anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS) (25.2 s− 1) was observed as compared to that with Fe(III) citrate (2.9 s− 1). The results, coupled with previous localization and gene deletion studies, suggest that OmcS is well-suited to play an important role in extracellular electron transfer.

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Salgueiro, CA, Dantas JM, Morgado L.  2019.  Principles of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Selected Biological Applications. Radiation in Bioanalysis: Spectroscopic Techniques and Theoretical Methods. (Pereira, Alice S., Tavares, Pedro, Limão-Vieira, Paulo, Eds.).:245–286., Cham: Springer International Publishing Abstract

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is extremely powerful to study distinct biological systems ranging from biomolecules to specific metabolites. This chapter presents the basic concepts of the technique and illustrates its potential to study such systems. Similarly, to other spectroscopic techniques, the theoretical background of NMR is sustained by detailed mathematics and physical chemistry concepts, which were kept to the minimum. The intent is to introduce the fundamentals of the technique to science students from different backgrounds. The basic concepts of NMR spectroscopy are briefly presented in the first section, and the following sections describe applications in the biosciences field, using electron transfer proteins as model, particularly cytochromes. The heme groups endow cytochromes with particular features making them excellent examples to illustrate the high versatility of NMR spectroscopy. The main methodologies underlying protein solution structure determination are discussed in the second section. This is followed by a description of the main experiments explored to structurally map protein-protein or protein-ligand interface regions in molecular complexes. Finally, it is shown how NMR spectroscopy can assist in the functional characterization of multiheme cytochromes.

Salgueiro, CA, Morgado L, Fonseca B, Lamosa P, Catarino T, Turner DL, Louro RO.  2005.  Binding of ligands originates small perturbations on the microscopic thermodynamic properties of a multicentre redox protein. FEBS Journal. 272(9):2251-2260. AbstractWebsite

NMR and visible spectroscopy coupled to redox measurements were used to determine the equilibrium thermodynamic properties of the four haems in cytochrome c3 under conditions in which the protein was bound to ligands, the small anion phosphate and the protein rubredoxin with the iron in the active site replaced by zinc. Comparison of these results with data for the isolated cytochrome shows that binding of ligands causes only small changes in the reduction potentials of the haems and their pairwise interactions, and also that the redox-sensitive acid–base centre responsible for the redox–Bohr effect is essentially unaffected. Although neither of the ligands tested is a physiological partner of cytochrome c3, the small changes observed for the thermodynamic properties of cytochrome c3 bound to these ligands vs. the unbound state, indicate that the thermodynamic properties measured for the isolated protein are relevant for a physiological interpretation of the role of this cytochrome in the bioenergetic metabolism of Desulfovibrio.

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.

Salgueiro, CA, da Costa PN, Turner DL, Messias AC, van Dongen WMAM, Saraiva LM, Xavier AV.  2001.  Effect of Hydrogen-Bond Networks in Controlling Reduction Potentials in Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough) Cytochrome c3 Probed by Site-Specific Mutagenesis. Biochemistry. 40(32):9709-9716. AbstractWebsite

Cytochromes c3 isolated from Desulfovibrio spp. are periplasmic proteins that play a central role in energy transduction by coupling the transfer of electrons and protons from hydrogenase. Comparison between the oxidized and reduced structures of cytochrome c3 isolated from Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough) show that the residue threonine 24, located in the vicinity of heme III, reorients between these two states [Messias, A. C., Kastrau, D. H. W., Costa, H. S., LeGall, J., Turner, D. L., Santos, H., and Xavier, A. V. (1998) J. Mol. Biol. 281, 719−739]. Threonine 24 was replaced with valine by site-directed mutagenesis to elucidate its effect on the redox properties of the protein. The NMR spectra of the mutated protein are very similar to those of the wild type, showing that the general folding and heme core architecture are not affected by the mutation. However, thermodynamic analysis of the mutated cytochrome reveals a large alteration in the microscopic reduction potential of heme III (75 and 106 mV for the protonated forms of the fully reduced and oxidized states, respectively). The redox interactions involving this heme are also modified, while the remaining heme−heme interactions and the redox−Bohr interactions are less strongly affected. Hence, the order of oxidation of the hemes in the mutated cytochrome is different from that in the wild type, and it has a higher overall affinity for electrons. This is consistent with the replacement of threonine 24 by valine preventing the formation of a network of hydrogen bonds, which stabilizes the oxidized state. The mutated protein is unable to perform a concerted two-electron step between the intermediate oxidation stages, 1 and 3, which can occur in the wild-type protein. Thus, replacing a single residue unbalances the global network of cooperativities tuned to control thermodynamically the directionality of the stepwise electron transfer and may affect the functionality of the protein.

Salgueiro, CA, Turner DL, Legall J, Xavier AV, Legall J.  1997.  Reevaluation of the redox and redox-Bohr cooperativity in tetrahaem Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Miyazaki F) cytochrome c3. Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry. 2(3):343-349. AbstractWebsite

The thermodynamic model of five interacting charge centres (four haems and an ionisable centre), which was used in the characterisation of the thermodynamic properties of Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough) cytochrome c3 (c3DvH), is now used to reevaluate the thermodynamic properties in Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Miyazaki F) cytochrome c3 (c3DvM) on the basis of published data (Park, J.-S., Ohmura, T., Kano, K., Sagara, T., Niki, K., Kyogoku, Y. and Akutsu, H. (1996) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1293, 45–54). Contrary to the assertion of Park et al. (1996), the pH dependence of the proton chemical shifts of haem methyls in c3DvM in several stages of oxidation is well described by the model, which involves both homotropic (e–/e–) and heterotropic (e–/H+) cooperativity. This shows that the pH dependence observed for c3DvM is not significantly more complicated than that observed for c3DvH. Since the parameters which we now obtain for c3DvM are generated with the same model as those from c3DvH, albeit using less precise data, it is possible to make a preliminary comparison of the thermodynamic properties of these two proteins and of their role in energy transduction.
The extrinsic dipolar shifts generated for each methyl group by each of the four haems in c3DvM are also determined. A novel method for approximating the magnetic susceptibility tensors is used: the orientations of the principal axes of the tensors have been shown to be closely related to the geometry of the axial ligands, which is available from the X-ray structure of c3DvM, and the components of the tensors are extrapolated from EPR g values. The inclusion of the calculated haem extrinsic contributions clearly describes the pH dependence of the haem methyls in the core of the protein, close to other haems. This description is most remarkable in the case of the haem methyl 21CH3 II I, for which the "unusual pH dependence" commented on by Park et al. (1996) is easily explained using the thermodynamic parameters determined by our model together with the calculated extrinsic dipolar shifts, thus providing a test of the analysis.

Salgueiro, CA, Turner DL, Xavier AV.  1997.  Use of Paramagnetic NMR Probes for Structural Analysis in Cytochrome c3 from Desulfovibrio Vulgaris. European Journal of Biochemistry. 244(3):721-734. AbstractWebsite

The dipolar field generated by each of the four haems in the tetrahaem ferricytochrome c3 from Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough) (c3DvH) is determined by means of a novel procedure. In this method the 13C chemical shifts of the nuclei directly bound to the haems are used to determine the in-plane orientations of the rhombic perturbation in each of the four haems with respect to a model of molecular orbitals of eg symmetry which are subject to a rhombic perturbation [Turner, D. L., Salgueiro, C. A., Schenkels, P., LeGall, J. & Xavier, A. V. (1995) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1246, 24–28]. These orientations, together with the components of the magnetic susceptibility tensors obtained from the EPR g values and the crystal structure of c3DvH, can be used to calculate the dipolar shifts induced by each haem throughout the protein. Thus the observed 13C paramagnetic shifts of the c3DvH haem substituents were fitted considering both the pseudocontact and contact shifts of each haem simultaneously. The dipolar shifts calculated by this method were tested against the observed dipolar shifts for some amino acid residues strategically placed in the protein and also for the haem propionate groups. The effect of considering the calculated dipolar extrinsic shifts on the behaviour of the chemical shifts of the haem methyl groups in the intermediate stages of oxidation at different pH values was also analysed. The several tests applied to the calculated dipolar shifts have shown that the method is extremely useful for predicting chemical shifts as an aid to complete proton assignment, and to add further constraints in the refinement of solution structures of paramagnetic proteins and hence to probe subtle structural rearrangements around the haem pocket.

Salgueiro, CA, Dantas JM.  2016.  Multiheme Cytochromes. Multiheme Cytochromes. :1–39., Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg Abstract

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Salgueiro, CA, Turner DL, Santos H, Legall J, Xavier AV.  1992.  Assignment of the redox potentials to the four haems in Desulfovibrio vulgaris cytochrome c3 by 2D-NMR. FEBS Letters. 314(2):155-158. AbstractWebsite

Using 2D-NMR the four haems of Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough) cytochromes, within the X-ray structure were fully cross-assigned according to their redox potential. The strategy used was based on a complete network of chemical exchange connectivities between the NMR signals obtained for all oxidation levels to the corresponding ones in the fully reduced spectrum [1992, Eur. J. Biochem., in press]. This unequivocal cross-assignment disagrees within earlier results obtained for the similar protein from Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Miyazaki F.) [1991, FEBS Lett. 285, 149–151]

Santos, TC, de Oliveira AR, Dantas JM, Salgueiro CA, Cordas CM.  2015.  Thermodynamic and kinetic characterization of PccH, a key protein in microbial electrosynthesis processes in Geobacter sulfurreducens. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 1847:1113-1118., Number 10 AbstractWebsite

Abstract The monoheme c-type cytochrome PccH from Geobacter sulfurreducens, involved in the pathway of current-consumption in biofilms, was electrochemically characterized in detail. Cyclic voltammetry was used to determine the kinetics and thermodynamics properties of PccH redox behavior. Entropy, enthalpy and Gibbs free energy changes associated with the redox center transition between the ferric and the ferrous state were determined, indicating an enhanced solvent exposure. The midpoint redox potential is considerably low for a monoheme c-type cytochrome and the heterogeneous electron transfer constant rate reflects a high efficiency of electron transfer process in PccH. The midpoint redox potential dependence on the pH (redox-Bohr effect) was investigated, over the range of 2.5 to 9.1, and is described by the protonation/deprotonation events of two distinct centers in the vicinity of the heme group with pKa values of 2.7 (pKox1); 4.1 (pKred1) and 5.9 (pKox2); 6.4 (pKred2). Based on the inspection of PccH structure, these centers were assigned to heme propionic acids \{P13\} and P17, respectively. The observed redox-Bohr effect indicates that PccH is able to thermodynamically couple electron and proton transfer in the G. sulfurreducens physiological pH range.

Santos, TC, Silva MA, Morgado L, Dantas JM, Salgueiro CA.  2015.  Diving into the redox properties of Geobacter sulfurreducens cytochromes: a model for extracellular electron transfer. Dalton Trans. 44(20):9335-9344. AbstractWebsite

Geobacter bacteria have a remarkable respiratory versatility that includes the dissimilatory reduction of insoluble metal oxides in natural habitats and electron transfer to electrode surfaces from which electricity can be harvested. In both cases, electrons need to be exported from the cell interior to the exterior via a mechanism designated as extracellular electron transfer (EET). Several c-type cytochromes from G. sulfurreducens (Gs) were identified as key players in this process. Biochemical and biophysical data have been obtained for ten Gs cytochromes, including inner-membrane associated (MacA), periplasmic (PpcA, PpcB, PpcC, PpcD, PpcE and GSU1996) and outer membrane-associated (OmcF, OmcS and OmcZ). The redox properties of these cytochromes have been determined, except for PpcC and GSU1996. In this perspective, the reduction potentials of these two cytochromes were determined by potentiometric redox titrations followed by visible spectroscopy. The data obtained are taken together with those available for other key cytochromes to present a thorough overview of the current knowledge of Gs EET mechanisms and provide a possible rationalization for the existence of several multiheme cytochromes involved in the same respiratory pathways.

Saraiva, LM, Salgueiro CA, Legall J, van Dongen WMAM, Xavier AV.  1996.  Site-directed mutagenesis of a phenylalanine residue strictly conserved in cytochromes c3. Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry. 1(6):542-550. AbstractWebsite

Reduction of the haems in tetrahaem cytochromes c3 is a cooperative process, i.e., reduction of each of the haems depends on the redox states of the other haems. Furthermore, electron transfer is coupled to proton transfer (redox-Bohr effect). Two of its haems and a strictly conserved nearby phenylalanine residue, F20, in Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough) cytochrome c3 form a structural motif that is present in all cytochromes c3 and also in cytochrome c oxidase. A putative role for this phenylalanine residue in the cooperativity of haem reduction was investigated. Therefore, this phenylalanine was replaced, with genetic techniques, by isoleucine and tyrosine in D. vulgaris (Hildenborough) cytochrome c3. Cyclic voltammetry studies revealed a small increase (30 mV) in one of the macroscopic redox potentials in the mutated cytochromes. EPR showed that the main alterations occurred in the vicinity of haem I, the haem closest to residue 20 and one of the haems responsible for positive cooperativities in electron transfer of D. vulgaris cytochrome c3. NMR studies of F20I cytochrome c3 demonstrated that the haem core architecture is maintained and that the more affected haem proton groups are those near the mutation site. NMR redox titrations of this mutated protein gave evidence for only small changes in the relative redox potentials of the haems. However, electron/electron and proton/electron cooperativity are maintained, indicating that this aromatic residue has no essential role in these processes. Furthermore, chemical modification of the N-terminal amino group of cytochrome c3 backbone, which is also very close to haem I, had no effect on the network of cooperativities.

Saraiva, LM, Salgueiro CA, da Costa PN, Messias AC, Legall J, van Dongen WMAM, Xavier AV.  1998.  Replacement of Lysine 45 by Uncharged Residues Modulates the Redox-Bohr Effect in Tetraheme Cytochrome c3 of Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough). Biochemistry. 37(35):12160-12165. AbstractWebsite

The structural basis for the pH dependence of the redox potential in the tetrahemic Desulfovibrio vulgaris (Hildenborough) cytochrome c3 was investigated by site-directed mutagenesis of charged residues in the vicinity of heme I. Mutation of lysine 45, located in the neighborhood of the propionates of heme I, by uncharged residues, namely threonine, glutamine and leucine, was performed. The replacement of a conserved charged residue, aspartate 7, present in the N-terminal region and near heme I was also attempted. The analysis of the redox interactions as well as the redox-Bohr behavior of the mutated cytochromes c3 allowed the conclusion that residue 45 has a functional role in the control of the pKa of the propionate groups of heme I and confirms the involvement of this residue in the redox-Bohr effect.

Silva, MA, Fernandes AP, Turner DL, Salgueiro CA.  2023.  A Biochemical Deconstruction-Based Strategy to Assist the Characterization of Bacterial Electric Conductive Filaments. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 24, Number 8 AbstractWebsite

Periplasmic nanowires and electric conductive filaments made of the polymeric assembly of c-type cytochromes from Geobacter sulfurreducens bacterium are crucial for electron storage and/or extracellular electron transfer. The elucidation of the redox properties of each heme is fundamental to the understanding of the electron transfer mechanisms in these systems, which first requires the specific assignment of the heme NMR signals. The high number of hemes and the molecular weight of the nanowires dramatically decrease the spectral resolution and make this assignment extremely complex or unattainable. The nanowire cytochrome GSU1996 ( 42 kDa) is composed of four domains (A to D) each containing three c-type heme groups. In this work, the individual domains (A to D), bi-domains (AB, CD) and full-length nanowire were separately produced at natural abundance. Sufficient protein expression was obtained for domains C ( 11 kDa/three hemes) and D ( 10 kDa/three hemes), as well as for bi-domain CD ( 21 kDa/six hemes). Using 2D-NMR experiments, the assignment of the heme proton NMR signals for domains C and D was obtained and then used to guide the assignment of the corresponding signals in the hexaheme bi-domain CD. This new biochemical deconstruction-based procedure, using nanowire GSU1996 as a model, establishes a new strategy to functionally characterize large multiheme cytochromes.

Silva, MA, Portela PC, Salgueiro CA.  2021.  Rational design of electron/proton transfer mechanisms in the exoelectrogenic bacteria Geobacter sulfurreducens, 07. Biochemical Journal. 478:2871-2887., Number 14 AbstractWebsite

{The redox potential values of cytochromes can be modulated by the protonation/deprotonation of neighbor groups (redox-Bohr effect), a mechanism that permits the proteins to couple electron/proton transfer. In the respiratory chains, this effect is particularly relevant if observed in the physiological pH range, as it may contribute to the electrochemical gradient for ATP synthesis. A constitutively produced family of five triheme cytochromes (PpcA−E) from the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens plays a crucial role in extracellular electron transfer, a hallmark that permits this bacterium to be explored for several biotechnological applications. Two members of this family (PpcA and PpcD) couple electron/proton transfer in the physiological pH range, a feature not shared with PpcB and PpcE. That ability is crucial for G. sulfurreducens’ growth in Fe(III)-reducing habitats since extra contributors to the electrochemical gradient are needed. It was postulated that the redox-Bohr effect is determined by the nature of residue 6, a leucine in PpcA/PpcD and a phenylalanine in PpcB/PpcE. To confirm this hypothesis, Phe6 was replaced by leucine in PpcB and PpcE. The functional properties of these mutants were investigated by NMR and UV–visible spectroscopy to assess their capability to couple electron/proton transfer in the physiological pH range. The results obtained showed that the mutants have an increased redox-Bohr effect and are now capable of coupling electron/proton transfer. This confirms the determinant role of the nature of residue 6 in the modulation of the redox-Bohr effect in this family of cytochromes, opening routes to engineer Geobacter cells with improved biomass production.}

Silva, MA, Valente RC, Pokkuluri PR, Turner DL, Salgueiro CA, Catarino T.  2014.  Thermodynamic and kinetic characterization of two methyl-accepting chemotaxis heme sensors from Geobacter sulfurreducens reveals the structural origin of their functional difference. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1837(6):920-928. AbstractWebsite

The periplasmic sensor domains GSU582 and GSU935 are part of methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins of the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens containing one c-type heme and a PAS-like fold. Their spectroscopic properties were shown previously to share similar spectral features. In both sensors, the heme group is in the high-spin form in the oxidized state and low-spin after reduction and binding of a methionine residue. Therefore, it was proposed that this redox-linked ligand switch might be related to the signal transduction mechanism. We now report the thermodynamic and kinetic characterization of the sensors GSU582 and GSU935 by visible spectroscopy and stopped-flow techniques, at several pH and ionic strength values. Despite their similar spectroscopic features, the midpoint reduction potentials and the rate constants for reduction by dithionite are considerably different in the two sensors. The reduction potentials of both sensors are negative and well framed within the typical anoxic subsurface environments in which Geobacter species predominate. The midpoint reduction potentials of sensor GSU935 are lower than those of GSU582 at all pH and ionic strength values and the same was observed for the reduction rate constants. The origin of the different functional properties of these closely related sensors is rationalized in the terms of the structures. The results suggest that the sensors are designed to function in different working potential ranges, allowing the bacteria to trigger an adequate cellular response in different anoxic subsurface environments. These findings provide an explanation for the co-existence of two similar methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins in G. sulfurreducens.

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.

Silva, MA, Lucas TG, Salgueiro CA, Gomes CM.  2012.  Protein Folding Modulates the Swapped Dimerization Mechanism of Methyl-Accepting Chemotaxis Heme Sensors. PLoS ONE. 7(9):e46328. AbstractWebsite

The periplasmic sensor domains GSU0582 and GSU0935 are part of methyl accepting chemotaxis proteins in the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens. Both contain one c-type heme group and their crystal structures revealed that these domains form swapped dimers with a PAS fold formed from the two protein chains. The swapped dimerization of these sensors is related to the mechanism of signal transduction and the formation of the swapped dimer involves significant folding changes and conformational rearrangements within each monomeric component. However, the structural changes occurring during this process are poorly understood and lack a mechanistic framework. To address this issue, we have studied the folding and stability properties of two distinct heme-sensor PAS domains, using biophysical spectroscopies. We observed substantial differences in the thermodynamic stability (ΔG = 14.6 kJ.mol−1 for GSU0935 and ΔG = 26.3 kJ.mol−1 for GSU0582), and demonstrated that the heme moiety undergoes conformational changes that match those occurring at the global protein structure. This indicates that sensing by the heme cofactor induces conformational changes that rapidly propagate to the protein structure, an effect which is directly linked to the signal transduction mechanism. Interestingly, the two analyzed proteins have distinct levels of intrinsic disorder (25% for GSU0935 and 13% for GSU0582), which correlate with conformational stability differences. This provides evidence that the sensing threshold and intensity of the propagated allosteric effect is linked to the stability of the PAS-fold, as this property modulates domain swapping and dimerization. Analysis of the PAS-domain shows that disorder segments are found either at the hinge region that controls helix motions or in connecting segments of the β-sheet interface. The latter is known to be widely involved in both intra- and intermolecular interactions, supporting the view that it's folding and stability are at the basis of the specificity and regulation of many types of PAS-containing signaling proteins.

Silveira, CM, Castro MA, Dantas JM, Salgueiro C, Murgida DH, Todorovic S.  2017.  Structure, electrocatalysis and dynamics of immobilized cytochrome PccH and its microperoxidase, 2017. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. 19(13):8908-8918.: The Royal Society of Chemistry AbstractWebsite

Geobacter sulfurreducens cells have the ability to exchange electrons with conductive materials, and the periplasmic cytochrome PccH plays an essential role in the direct electrode-to-cell electron transfer in this bacterium. It has atypically low redox potential and unique structural features that differ from those observed in other c-type cytochromes. We report surface enhanced resonance Raman spectroscopic and electrochemical characterization of the immobilized PccH, together with molecular dynamics simulations that allow for the rationalization of experimental observations. Upon attachment to electrodes functionalized with partially or fully hydrophobic self-assembled monolayers, PccH displays a distribution of native and non-native heme spin configurations, similar to those observed in horse heart cytochrome c. The native structural and thermodynamic features of PccH are preserved upon attachment mixed hydrophobic (-CH3/-NH2) surfaces, while pure -OH, -NH2 and -COOH surfaces do not provide suitable platforms for its adsorption, indicating that its still unknown physiological redox partner might be membrane integrated. Neither of the employed immobilization strategies results in electrocatalytically active PccH capable of the reduction of hydrogen peroxide. Pseudoperoxidase activity is observed in immobilized microperoxidase, which is enzymatically produced from PccH and spectroscopically characterized. Further improvement of PccH microperoxidase stability is required for its application in electrochemical biosensing of hydrogen peroxide.

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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.