The facultative aerobic bacterium Shewanella frigidimarina produces a small c-type tetrahaem cytochrome (86 residues) under anaerobic growth conditions. This protein is involved in the respiration of iron and shares 42% sequence identity with the N-terminal domain of a soluble flavocytochrome, isolated from the periplasm of the same bacterium, which also contains four c-type haem groups. The thermodynamic properties of the redox centres and of an ionizable centre in the tetrahaem cytochrome were determined using NMR and visible spectroscopy techniques. This is the first detailed thermodynamic study performed on a tetrahaem cytochrome isolated from a facultative aerobic bacterium and reveals that this protein presents unique features. The redox centres have negative and different redox potentials, which are modulated by redox interactions between the four haems (covering a range of 8-56 mV) and by redox-Bohr interactions between the haems and an ionizable centre (-4 to -36 mV) located in close proximity to haem III. All of the interactions between the five centres are clearly dominated by electrostatic effects and the microscopic reduction potential of haem III is the one most affected by the oxidation of the other haems and by the protonation state of the molecule. Altogether, this study indicates that the tetrahaem cytochrome isolated from S. frigidimarina (Sfc) has the thermodynamic properties to work as an electron wire between its redox partners. Considering the high degree of sequence identity between Sfc and the cytochrome domain of flavocytochrome C3, the structural similarities of the haem core, and that the macroscopic potentials are also identical, the results obtained in this work are rationalized in order to put forward a putative redox model for flavocytochrome c3.
- Electron transfer protein
- Paramagnetic shift