The three-dimensional X-ray structure of cytochrome C3 from a sulfate reducing bacterium, Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ATCC 27774 (107 residues, 4 heme groups), has been determined by the method of molecular replacement [Frazao et al. (1994) Acta Crystallogr. D50, 233-236] and refined at 1.75Å to an R-factor of 17.8%. When compared with the homologous proteins isolated from Desulfovibrio gigas, Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough, Desulfovibrio vulgaris Miyazaki F, and Desulfomicrobium baculatus, the general outlines of the structure are essentialy kept [heme-heme distances, heme-heme angles, His-His (axial heme ligands) dihedral angles, and the geometry of the conserved aromatic residues]. The three-dimensional structure of D. desulfuricans ATCC 27774 cytochrome C3Dd was modeled on the basis of the crystal structures available and amino acid sequence comparisons within this homologous family of multiheme cytochromes [Palma et al. (1994) Biochemistry 33, 6394-6407]. This model is compared with the refined crystal structure now reported, in order to discuss the validity of structure prediction methods and critically evaluate the steps used to predict protein structures by homology modeling. The four heme midpoint redox potentials were determined by using deconvoluted electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) redox titrations. Structural criteria (electrostatic potentials, heme ligand orientation, EPR g values, heme exposure, data from protein-protein interaction studies) are invoked to assign the redox potentials corresponding to each specific heme in the three-dimensional structure.