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Pessanha, M, Morgado L, Louro RO, Londer YY, Pokkuluri PR, Schiffer M, Salgueiro CA.  2006.  Thermodynamic Characterization of Triheme Cytochrome PpcA from Geobacter sulfurreducens:  Evidence for a Role Played in e-/H+ Energy Transduction. Biochemistry. 45(46):13910-13917. AbstractWebsite

The facultative aerobic bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens produces a small periplasmic c-type triheme cytochrome with 71 residues (PpcA) under anaerobic growth conditions, which is involved in the iron respiration. The thermodynamic properties of the PpcA redox centers and of a protonatable center were determined using NMR and visible spectroscopy techniques. The redox centers have negative and different reduction potentials (−162, −143, and −133 mV for heme I, III, and IV, respectively, for the fully reduced and protonated protein), which are modulated by redox interactions among the hemes (covering a range from 10 to 36 mV) and by redox−Bohr interactions (up to −62 mV) between the hemes and a protonatable center located in the proximity of heme IV. All the interactions between the four centers are dominated by electrostatic effects. The microscopic reduction potential of heme III is the one most affected by the oxidation of the other hemes, whereas heme IV is the most affected by the protonation state of the molecule. The thermodynamic properties of PpcA showed that pH strongly modulates the redox behavior of the individual heme groups. A preferred electron transfer pathway at physiologic pH is defined, showing that PpcA has the necessary thermodynamic properties to perform e-/H+ energy transduction, contributing to a H+ electrochemical potential gradient across the periplasmic membrane that drives ATP synthesis. PpcA is 46% identical in sequence to and shares a high degree of structural similarity with a periplasmic triheme cytochrome c7 isolated from Desulfuromonas acetoxidans, a bacterium closely related to the Geobacteracea family. However, the results obtained for PpcA are quite different from those published for D. acetoxidans c7, and the physiological consequences of these differences are discussed.

Ferreira, MR, Fernandes TM, Salgueiro CA.  2020.  Thermodynamic properties of triheme cytochrome PpcF from Geobacter metallireducens reveal unprecedented functional mechanism. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 1861:148271., Number 11 AbstractWebsite

The bacterium Geobacter metallireducens is highly efficient in long-range extracellular electron transfer, a process that relies on an efficient bridging between the cytoplasmic electron donors and the extracellular acceptors. The periplasmic triheme cytochromes are crucial players in these processes and thus the understanding of their functional mechanism is crucial to elucidate the extracellular electron transfer processes in this microorganism. The triheme cytochrome PpcF from G. metallireducens has the lowest amino acid sequence identity with the remaining cytochromes from the PpcA-family of G. sulfurreducens and G. metallireducens, making it an interesting target for structural and functional studies. In this work, we performed a detailed functional and thermodynamic characterization of cytochrome PpcF by the complementary usage of NMR and visible spectroscopic techniques. The results obtained show that the heme reduction potentials are negative, different from each other and are also modulated by the redox and redox-Bohr interactions that assure unprecedented mechanistic features to the protein. The results showed that the order of oxidation of the hemes in cytochrome PpcF is maintained in the entire physiological pH range. The considerable separation of the hemes' redox potential values facilitates a sequential transfer within the chain of redox centers in PpcF, thus assuring electron transfer directionality to the electron acceptors.

Ferreira, MR, Dantas JM, Salgueiro CA.  2018.  The triheme cytochrome PpcF from Geobacter metallireducens exhibits distinct redox properties. FEBS Open Bio. , Number ja AbstractWebsite

Abstract Electrogenic bacteria, such as Geobacter, can couple the oxidation of carbon sources to the reduction of extracellular electron acceptors; such acceptors include toxic and radioactive metals, as well as electrode surfaces, making Geobacter a suitable candidate for applied use in bioremediation and bioenergy generation. Geobacter metallireducens is more promising in this regard than the better studied Geobacter sulfurreducens, as it has more efficient Fe (III) reduction rates and can respire nitrate to ammonia. The operon responsible for nitrate reductase activity in G. metallireducens includes the gene encoding the cytochrome PpcF, which was proposed to exchange electrons with nitrate reductase. In the present work, we perform a biochemical and biophysical characterization of PpcF. Spectroscopic techniques, including circular dichroism (CD), UV-visible, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) revealed that the cytochrome is very stable (Tm > 85 °C), contains three low-spin hemes, and is diamagnetic (S=0) and paramagnetic (S=1/2) in the reduced and oxidized states, respectively. The NMR chemical shifts of the heme substituents were assigned and used to determine the heme core architecture of PpcF. Compared to the PpcA-family from G. sulfurreducens, the spatial disposition of the hemes is conserved, but the functional properties are clearly distinct. In fact, potentiometric titrations monitored by UV-visible absorption reveal that the reduction potential values of PpcF are significantly less negative (-56 and -64 mV, versus the normal hydrogen electrode at pH 7.0 and 8.0, respectively). NMR redox titrations showed that the order of oxidation of the hemes is IV-I-III a feature not observed for G. sulfurreducens. The different redox properties displayed by PpcF, including the small redox-Bohr effect and low reduction potential value of heme IV, were structurally rationalized and attributed to the lower number of positively charged residues located in the vicinity of heme IV. Overall, the redox features of PpcF suggest that biotechnological applications of G. metallireducens may require less negative working functional redox windows than those using by G. sulfurreducens.

Pessanha, M, Rothery EL, Miles CS, Reid GA, Chapman SK, Louro RO, Turner DL, Salgueiro CA, Xavier AV.  2009.  Tuning of functional heme reduction potentials in Shewanella fumarate reductases. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics. 1787(2):113-120. AbstractWebsite

The fumarate reductases from S. frigidimarina NCIMB400 and S. oneidensis MR-1 are soluble and monomeric enzymes located in the periplasm of these bacteria. These proteins display two redox active domains, one containing four c-type hemes and another containing FAD at the catalytic site. This arrangement of single-electron redox co-factors leading to multiple-electron active sites is widespread in respiratory enzymes. To investigate the properties that allow a chain of single-electron co-factors to sustain the activity of a multi-electron catalytic site, redox titrations followed by NMR and visible spectroscopies were applied to determine the microscopic thermodynamic parameters of the hemes. The results show that the redox behaviour of these fumarate reductases is similar and dominated by a strong interaction between hemes II and III. This interaction facilitates a sequential transfer of two electrons from the heme domain to FAD via heme IV.

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.

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.

Dantas, JM, Simões T, Morgado L, Caciones C, Fernandes AP, Silva MA, Bruix M, Pokkuluri RP, Salgueiro CA.  2016.  Unveiling the Structural Basis That Regulates the Energy Transduction Properties within a Family of Triheme Cytochromes from Geobacter sulfurreducens. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 120:10221-10233., Number 39 AbstractWebsite

A family of triheme cytochromes from Geobacter sulfurreducens plays an important role in extracellular electron transfer. In addition to their role in electron transfer pathways, two members of this family (PpcA and PpcD) were also found to be able to couple e–/H+ transfer through the redox Bohr effect observed in the physiological pH range, a feature not observed for cytochromes PpcB and PpcE. In attempting to understand the molecular control of the redox Bohr effect in this family of cytochromes, which is highly homologous both in amino acid sequence and structures, it was observed that residue 6 is a conserved leucine in PpcA and PpcD, whereas in the other two characterized members (PpcB and PpcE) the equivalent residue is a phenylalanine. To determine the role of this residue located close to the redox Bohr center, we replaced Leu6 in PpcA with Phe and determined the redox properties of the mutant, as well as its solution structure in the fully reduced state. In contrast with the native form, the mutant PpcAL6F is not able to couple the e–/H+ pathway. We carried out the reverse mutation in PpcB and PpcE (i.e., replacing Phe6 in these two proteins by leucine) and the mutated proteins showed an increased redox Bohr effect. The results clearly establish the role of residue 6 in the control of the redox Bohr effect in this family of cytochromes, a feature that could enable the rational design of G. sulfurreducens strains that carry mutant cytochromes with an optimal redox Bohr effect that would be suitable for various biotechnological applications.

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.