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A
Bandeiras, TM, Salgueiro CA, Kletzin A, Gomes CM, Teixeira M.  2002.  Acidianus ambivalens type-II NADH dehydrogenase: genetic characterisation and identification of the flavin moiety as FMN. FEBS Letters. 531(2):273-277. AbstractWebsite

The thermoacidophilic archaeon Acidianus ambivalens contains a monomeric 47 kDa type-II NADH dehydrogenase (NDH), which contains a covalently bound flavin. In this work, by a combination of several methods, namely 31P-nuclear magnetic resonance and fluorescence spectroscopies, it is proven that this enzyme contains covalent FMN, a novelty among this family of enzymes, which were so far thought to mainly have the flavin dinucleotide form. Discrimination between several possible covalent flavin linkages was achieved by spectral and fluorescence experiments, which identified an 8α-N(1)-histidylflavin-type of linkage. Analysis of the gene-deduced amino acid sequence of type-II NDH showed no transmembranar helices and allowed the definition of putative dinucleotide and quinone binding motifs. Further, it is suggested that membrane anchoring can be achieved via amphipatic helices.

Marques, AC, Santos L, Dantas JM, Gonçalves A, Casaleiro S, Martins R, Salgueiro CA, Fortunato E.  2017.  Advances in electrochemically active bacteria: Physiology and ecology. Handbook of Online and Near-real-time Methods in Microbiology. : CRC Press Abstract

The discovery of microorganisms with the ability of Extracellular Electron Transfer (EET), nearly three decades ago, sparked interest due to their ability to be used in diverse applications that can range from bioremediation to electricity production in Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC). Microbial respiration is based on electron transfer from a donor to an electron acceptor, through a series of stepwise electron transfer events that generate the necessary metabolic energy. Some microorganisms, such as Pseudomonas species, Shewanella putrefaciens or Geothrix fermentans are able to produce electrochemical mediators to increase the EET. The mechanical stability of the biofilm is provided by the biofilm matrix, a hydrated extracellular polymeric matrix that encases the biofilm cells. The biofilm matrix could potentially offer a resistance pathway to EET unless bacteria develop strategies to increase its conductivity. MFC devices currently being used and studied do not generate sufficient power to support widespread and cost-effective applications.

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]

B
Teixeira, LR, Portela PC, Morgado L, Pantoja-Uceda D, Bruix M, Salgueiro CA.  2019.  Backbone assignment of cytochrome PccH, a crucial protein for microbial electrosynthesis in Geobacter sulfurreducens, 2019. Biomol NMR Assign. 13(2):321-326. AbstractWebsite

Microbial electrosynthesis is an emerging green technology that explores the capability of a particular group of microorganisms to drive their metabolism toward the production of hydrogen or value-added chemicals from electrons supplied by electrode surfaces. The cytochrome PccH showed the largest increase in transcription when electrons are supplied to Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms. Gene knock-out experiments have shown that the electron transfer toward G. sulfurreducens cells was completely inhibited by the deletion of the gene encoding for cytochrome PccH. This identifies a crucial role for this protein in G. sulfurreducens microbial electrosynthesis mechanisms, which are currently unknown. In this work, we present the backbone (1H, 13C and 15N) and heme assignment for PccH in the oxidized state. The data obtained paves the way to identify and structurally map the molecular interaction regions between the cytochrome PccH and its physiological redox partners.

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.

Dantas, JM, Silva e Sousa M, Salgueiro CA, Bruix M.  2015.  Backbone, side chain and heme resonance assignments of cytochrome OmcF from Geobacter sulfurreducens. Biomolecular NMR Assignments. 9(2):365-368. AbstractWebsite

Gene knockout studies on Geobacter sulfurreducens (Gs) cells showed that the outer membrane cytochrome OmcF is involved in respiratory pathways leading to the extracellular reduction of Fe(III) citrate and U(VI) oxide. In addition, microarray analysis of OmcF-deficient mutant versus the wild-type strain revealed that many of the genes with decreased transcript level were those whose expression is upregulated in cells grown with a graphite electrode as electron acceptor. This suggests that OmcF also regulates the electron transfer to electrode surfaces and the concomitant electrical current production by Gs in microbial fuel cells. Extracellular electron transfer processes (EET) constitute nowadays the foundations to develop biotechnological applications in biofuel production, bioremediation and bioenergy. Therefore, the structural characterization of OmcF is a fundamental step to understand the mechanisms underlying EET. Here, we report the complete assignment of the heme proton signals together with (1)H, (13)C and (15)N backbone and side chain assignments of the OmcF, excluding the hydrophobic residues of the N-terminal predicted lipid anchor.

Morgado, L, Paixão VB, Salgueiro CA, Bruix M.  2011.  Backbone, side chain and heme resonance assignments of the triheme cytochrome PpcA from Geobacter sulfurreducens. Biomolecular NMR Assignments. 5(1):113-116. AbstractWebsite

Gene knock-out studies on Geobacter sulfurreducens cells showed that the periplasmic triheme cytochrome PpcA is involved in respiratory pathways leading to the extracellular reduction of Fe(III) and U(VI) oxides. The crucial role of this protein in bridging the electron transfer between the cytoplasm and cell exterior was further supported by proteomics studies. In comparison with non-heme proteins, the presence of numerous proton-containing groups in the heme groups causes additional challenges to the full protein assignment and structure calculation. Here, we report the complete assignment of the heme proton signals together with the 1H and 15N backbone and side chain assignments of the reduced form of PpcA.

Dantas, JM, Salgueiro CA, Bruix M.  2015.  Backbone, side chain and heme resonance assignments of the triheme cytochrome PpcD from Geobacter sulfurreducens. Biomol NMR Assign. 9(1):211-214. AbstractWebsite

Gene knock-out studies on Geobacter sulfurreducens (Gs) cells showed that the periplasmic triheme cytochrome PpcD is involved in respiratory pathways leading to the extracellular reduction of Fe(III) and U(VI) oxides. More recently, it was also shown that the gene encoding for PpcD has higher transcript abundance when Gs cells utilize graphite electrodes as sole electron donors to reduce fumarate. This sets PpcD as the first multiheme cytochrome to be involved in Gs respiratory pathways that bridge the electron transfer between the cytoplasm and cell exterior in both directions. Nowadays, extracellular electron transfer (EET) processes are explored for several biotechnological applications, which include bioremediation, bioenergy and biofuel production. Therefore, the structural characterization of PpcD is a fundamental step to understand the mechanisms underlying EET. However, compared to non-heme proteins, the presence of numerous proton-containing groups in the redox centers presents additional challenges for protein signal assignment and structure calculation. Here, we report the complete assignment of the heme proton signals together with 1H, 13C and 15N backbone and side chain assignments of the reduced form of PpcD.

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.

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.

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.

Ferreira, MR, Salgueiro CA.  2018.  Biomolecular Interaction Studies Between Cytochrome PpcA From Geobacter sulfurreducens and the Electron Acceptor Ferric Nitrilotriacetate (Fe-NTA). Frontiers in Microbiology. 9:2741. AbstractWebsite

Geobacter sulfurreducens is a dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium that exhibits an enormous respiratory versatility, including the utilization of several toxic and radioactive metals as electron acceptors. This versatility is also replicated in the capability of the most abundant cytochrome in G. sulfurreducens, the periplasmic triheme cytochrome PpcA, to reduce uranium, chromium and other metal ions. From all possible electron transfer pathways in G. sulfurreducens, those involved in the iron reduction are the best characterized to date. In a previous work we provided structural evidence for the complex interface established between PpcA and the electron acceptor Fe(III)-citrate. However, genetic studies suggested that this acceptor is mainly reduced by outer membrane cytochomes. In the present work, we used UV-visible measurements to demonstrate that PpcA is able to directly reduce the electron acceptor ferric nitrilotriacetic acid (Fe-NTA), a more outer membrane permeable iron chelated form. In addition, the molecular interactions between PpcA and Fe-NTA were probed by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The NMR spectra obtained for natural abundance and 15N-enriched PpcA samples in the absence and presence of Fe-NTA showed that the interaction is reversible and encompasses a positively charged surface region located in the vicinity of the heme IV. Overall, the study provides for the first time a clear illustration of the formation of an electron transfer complex between PpcA and a readily outer-membrane permeable iron chelated form. The structural and functional relationships obtained explain how a single cytochrome is designed to effectively interact with a wide range of G. sulfurreducens electron acceptors, a feature that can be explored for optimal bioelectrochemical applications.

C
Turner, DL, Salgueiro CA, Schenkels P, Legall J, Xavier AV.  1995.  Carbon-13 NMR studies of the influence of axial ligand orientation on haem electronic structure. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Protein Structure and Molecular Enzymology. 1246(1):24-28. AbstractWebsite

Three-quarters of the carbon-13 resonances of nuclei attached to the four haems of Desulfovibrio vulgaris ferricytochrome c3 are assigned. Preliminary analysis of their Fermi contact interactions shows that the shifts are directly related to the orientation of both of the axial histidine ligands in each case and the approach can therefore be used to obtain structural information in other cytochromes with bis-histidinyl coordination. The implications for the control of redox potential in cytochromes are discussed.

Teixeira, LR, Fernandes TM, Silva MA, Morgado L, Salgueiro CA.  2022.  Characterization of a novel cytochrome involved in Geobacter sulfurreducens’ electron harvesting pathways. Chemistry – A European Journal. n/a, Number n/a AbstractWebsite

Electron harvesting bacteria are key targets to develop microbial electrosynthesis technologies, which are valid alternatives for the production of value-added compounds without utilization of fossil fuels. Geobacter sulfurreducens, that is capable of donating and accepting electrons from electrodes, is one of the most promising electroactive bacteria. Its electron transfer mechanisms to electrodes have been progressively elucidated, however the electron harvesting pathways are still poorly understood. Previous studies showed that the periplasmic cytochromes PccH and GSU2515 are overexpressed in current-consuming G. sulfurreducens biofilms. PccH was characterized, though no putative partners have been identified. In this work, GSU2515 was characterized by complementary biophysical techniques and in silico simulations using the AlphaFold neural network. GSU2515 is a low-spin monoheme cytochrome with a disordered N-terminal region and an α-helical C-terminal domain harboring the heme group. The cytochrome undergoes a redox-linked heme axial ligand switch, with Met91 and His94 as distal axial ligand in the reduced and oxidized state, respectively. The reduction potential of the cytochrome is negative and is modulated by the pH in the physiological range: -78 mV at pH 6 and -113 mV at pH 7. Such pH-dependence coupled to the redox-linked switch of the axial ligand allows the cytochrome to drive a proton-coupled electron transfer step that is crucial to confer directionality to the respiratory chain. Biomolecular interactions and electron transfer experiments indicated that GSU2515 and PccH form a redox complex. Overall, the data obtained highlights for the first time how periplasmic proteins bridge the electron transfer between the outer and inner membrane in the electron harvesting pathways of G. sulfurreducens.

Louro, RO, Salgueiro CA.  2006.  Cytochromes of Shewanella respiratory pathways. Metal Ions in Biology and Medicine - volume 9. (Alpoim, M.C., Morais, P.V., Santos, MA, Cristovão, AJ, Centeno, JA, Collery, P, Eds.).:236-241., Paris: John Libbey Eurotext Abstract

No abstract included.

D
Fernandes, TM, Morgado L, Salgueiro CA, Turner DL.  2019.  Determination of the magnetic properties and orientation of the heme axial ligands of PpcA from G. metallireducens by paramagnetic NMR. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. 198:110718. AbstractWebsite

The rising interest in the use of Geobacter bacteria for biotechnological applications demands a deep understanding of how these bacteria are able to thrive in a variety of environments and perform extracellular electron transfer. The Geobacter metallireducens bacterium can couple the oxidation of a wide range of compounds to the reduction of several extracellular acceptors, including heavy metals, toxic organic compounds or electrode surfaces. The periplasmic c-type cytochrome PpcA from this bacterium is a member of a family composed of five periplasmic triheme cytochromes, which are important to bridge the electron transfer between the cytoplasm and the extracellular environment. To better understand the functional mechanism of PpcA it is essential to obtain structural data for this cytochrome. In this work, the geometry of the heme axial ligands, as well as the magnetic properties of the hemes were determined for the oxidized form of the cytochrome, using the 13C NMR chemical shifts of the heme α-substituents. The results were further compared with those previously obtained for the homologous cytochrome from Geobacter sulfurreducens. The orientations of the axial histidine planes and the magnetic properties of the hemes are conserved in both proteins. Overall, the results obtained allowed the definition of the orientation of the magnetic axes of PpcA from G. metallireducens, which will be used as constraints to assist the solution structure determination of the cytochrome in the oxidized form.

Louro, RO, Pessanha M, Reid GA, Chapman SK, Turner DL, Salgueiro CA.  2002.  Determination of the orientation of the axial ligands and of the magnetic properties of the haems in the tetrahaem ferricytochrome from Shewanella frigidimarina. FEBS Letters. 531(3):520-524. AbstractWebsite

The unambiguous assignment of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) signals of the α-substituents of the haems in the tetrahaem cytochrome isolated from Shewanella frigidimarina NCIMB400, was made using a combination of homonuclear and heteronuclear experiments. The paramagnetic 13C shifts of the nuclei directly bound to the porphyrin of each haem group were analysed in the framework of a model for the haem electronic structure. The analysis yields g-tensors for each haem, which allowed the assignment of some electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) signals to specific haems, and the orientation of the magnetic axes relative to each haem to be established. The orientation of the axial ligands of the haems was determined semi-empirically from the NMR data, and the structural results were compared with those of the homologous tetrahaem cytochrome from Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 showing significant similarities between the two proteins.

Morgado, L, Lourenço S, Londer YY, Schiffer M, Pokkuluri PR, Salgueiro CA.  2014.  Dissecting the functional role of key residues in triheme cytochrome PpcA: a path to rational design of G. sulfurreducens strains with enhanced electron transfer capabilities. PLoS One. 9(8):e105566. AbstractWebsite

PpcA is the most abundant member of a family of five triheme cytochromes c7 in the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens (Gs) and is the most likely carrier of electrons destined for outer surface during respiration on solid metal oxides, a process that requires extracellular electron transfer. This cytochrome has the highest content of lysine residues (24%) among the family, and it was suggested to be involved in e-/H(+) energy transduction processes. In the present work, we investigated the functional role of lysine residues strategically located in the vicinity of each heme group. Each lysine was replaced by glutamine or glutamic acid to evaluate the effects of a neutral or negatively charged residue in each position. The results showed that replacing Lys9 (located near heme IV), Lys18 (near heme I) or Lys22 (between hemes I and III) has essentially no effect on the redox properties of the heme groups and are probably involved in redox partner recognition. On the other hand, Lys43 (near heme IV), Lys52 (between hemes III and IV) and Lys60 (near heme III) are crucial in the regulation of the functional mechanism of PpcA, namely in the selection of microstates that allow the protein to establish preferential e-/H(+) transfer pathways. The results showed that the preferred e-/H(+) transfer pathways are only established when heme III is the last heme to oxidize, a feature reinforced by a higher difference between its reduction potential and that of its predecessor in the order of oxidation. We also showed that K43 and K52 mutants keep the mechanistic features of PpcA by establishing preferential e-/H+ transfer pathways at lower reduction potential values than the wild-type protein, a property that can enable rational design of Gs strains with optimized extracellular electron transfer capabilities.

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.

E
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.

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.

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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.