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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jan 31;109(5):1702-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1112905109. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Surface multiheme c-type cytochromes from Thermincola potens and implications for respiratory metal reduction by Gram-positive bacteria.

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  • 1Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Abstract

Almost nothing is known about the mechanisms of dissimilatory metal reduction by Gram-positive bacteria, although they may be the dominant species in some environments. Thermincola potens strain JR was isolated from the anode of a microbial fuel cell inoculated with anaerobic digester sludge and operated at 55 °C. Preliminary characterization revealed that T. potens coupled acetate oxidation to the reduction of hydrous ferric oxides (HFO) or anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS), an analog of the redox active components of humic substances. The genome of T. potens was recently sequenced, and the abundance of multiheme c-type cytochromes (MHCs) is unusual for a Gram-positive bacterium. We present evidence from trypsin-shaving LC-MS/MS experiments and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) that indicates the expression of a number of MHCs during T. potens growth on either HFO or AQDS, and that several MHCs are localized to the cell wall or cell surface. Furthermore, one of the MHCs can be extracted from cells with low pH or denaturants, suggesting a loose association with the cell wall or cell surface. Electron microscopy does not reveal an S-layer, and the precipitation of silver metal on the cell surface is inhibited by cyanide, supporting the involvement of surface-localized redox-active heme proteins in dissimilatory metal reduction. These results provide unique direct evidence for cell wall-associated cytochromes and support MHC involvement in conducting electrons across the cell envelope of a Gram-positive bacterium.

PMID:
22307634
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3277152
Free PMC Article
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