Multi-heme cytochromes in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1: Structures, functions and opportunities

Marian Breuer, Kevin Rosso, Jochen Blumberger, Julea Butt

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Multi-heme cytochromes are employed by a range of microorganisms to transport electrons over distances of up to tens of nanometers. Perhaps the most spectacular utilization of these proteins is in the reduction of extracellular solid substrates, including electrodes and insoluble mineral oxides of Fe(III) and Mn(III/IV), by species of Shewanella and Geobacter. However, multi-heme cytochromes are found in numerous and phylogenetically diverse prokaryotes where they participate in electron transfer and redox catalysis that contributes to biogeochemical cycling of N, S and Fe on the global scale. These properties of multi-heme cytochromes have attracted much interest and contributed to advances in bioenergy applications and bioremediation of contaminated soils.
Looking forward there are opportunities to engage multi-heme cytochromes for biological photovoltaic cells, microbial electrosynthesis and developing bespoke molecular devices. As a consequence it is timely to review our present understanding of these proteins and we do this here with a focus on the multitude of functionally diverse multi-heme cytochromes in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. We draw on findings from experimental and computational approaches which ideally complement each other in the study of these systems: computational methods can interpret experimentally determined properties in terms of molecular structure to cast light on the relation between structure and function. We show how this synergy has contributed to our understanding of multi-heme cytochromes and can be expected to continue to do so for greater insight into natural processes and their informed exploitation in biotechnologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20141117
JournalJournal of The Royal Society Interface
Issue number102
Early online date19 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2015

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