JOURNAL ARTICLE

Thermodynamic characterization of a triheme cytochrome family from Geobacter sulfurreducens reveals mechanistic and functional diversity

Leonor Morgado, Marta Bruix, Miguel Pessanha, Yuri Y Londer, Carlos A Salgueiro
Biophysical Journal 2010 July 7, 99 (1): 293-301
20655858
A family of five periplasmic triheme cytochromes (PpcA-E) was identified in Geobacter sulfurreducens, where they play a crucial role by driving electron transfer from the cytoplasm to the cell exterior and assisting the reduction of extracellular acceptors. The thermodynamic characterization of PpcA using NMR and visible spectroscopies was previously achieved under experimental conditions identical to those used for the triheme cytochrome c(7) from Desulfuromonas acetoxidans. Under such conditions, attempts to obtain NMR data were complicated by the relatively fast intermolecular electron exchange. This work reports the detailed thermodynamic characterization of PpcB, PpcD, and PpcE under optimal experimental conditions. The thermodynamic characterization of PpcA was redone under these new conditions to allow a proper comparison of the redox properties with those of other members of this family. The heme reduction potentials of the four proteins are negative, differ from each other, and cover different functional ranges. These reduction potentials are strongly modulated by heme-heme interactions and by interactions with protonated groups (the redox-Bohr effect) establishing different cooperative networks for each protein, which indicates that they are designed to perform different functions in the cell. PpcA and PpcD appear to be optimized to interact with specific redox partners involving e(-)/H(+) transfer via different mechanisms. Although no evidence of preferential electron transfer pathway or e(-)/H(+) coupling was found for PpcB and PpcE, the difference in their working potential ranges suggests that they may also have different physiological redox partners. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to characterize homologous cytochromes from the same microorganism and provide evidence of their different mechanistic and functional properties. These findings provide an explanation for the coexistence of five periplasmic triheme cytochromes in G. sulfurreducens.

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