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c-Type Cytochrome-Dependent Formation of U(IV) Nanoparticles by Shewanella oneidensis

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      Modern approaches for bioremediation of radionuclide contaminated environments are based on the ability of microorganisms to effectively catalyze changes in the oxidation states of metals that in turn influence their solubility. Although microbial metal reduction has been identified as an effective means for immobilizing highly-soluble uranium(VI) complexes in situ, the biomolecular mechanisms of U(VI) reduction are not well understood. Here, we show that c-type cytochromes of a dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium, Shewanella oneidensis MR-1, are essential for the reduction of U(VI) and formation of extracelluar UO 2 nanoparticles. In particular, the outer membrane (OM) decaheme cytochrome MtrC (metal reduction), previously implicated in Mn(IV) and Fe(III) reduction, directly transferred electrons to U(VI). Additionally, deletions of mtrC and/or omcA significantly affected the in vivo U(VI) reduction rate relative to wild-type MR-1. Similar to the wild-type, the mutants accumulated UO 2 nanoparticles extracellularly to high densities in association with an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). In wild-type cells, this UO 2-EPS matrix exhibited glycocalyx-like properties and contained multiple elements of the OM, polysaccharide, and heme-containing proteins. Using a novel combination of methods including synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy and high-resolution immune-electron microscopy, we demonstrate a close association of the extracellular UO 2 nanoparticles with MtrC and OmcA (outer membrane cytochrome). This is the first study to our knowledge to directly localize the OM-associated cytochromes with EPS, which contains biogenic UO 2 nanoparticles. In the environment, such association of UO 2 nanoparticles with biopolymers may exert a strong influence on subsequent behavior including susceptibility to oxidation by O 2 or transport in soils and sediments.


      Microorganisms that catalyze changes in oxidation states of metals can be used to decontaminate environments of radionuclides. Here, c-type cytochromes on the outer membrane of a dissimilatory metal reducing bacterium are shown to be essential for the reduction of uranium(VI).

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      Bacterial manganese reduction and growth with manganese oxide as the sole electron acceptor.

      Microbes that couple growth to the reduction of manganese could play an important role in the biogeochemistry of certain anaerobic environments. Such a bacterium, Alteromonas putrefaciens MR-1, couples its growth to the reduction of manganese oxides only under anaerobic conditions. The characteristics of this reduction are consistent with a biological, and not an indirect chemical, reduction of manganese, which suggest that this bacterium uses manganic oxide as a terminal electron acceptor. It can also utilize a large number of other compounds as terminal electron acceptors; this versatility could provide a distinct advantage in environments where electron-acceptor concentrations may vary.
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        Dissimilatory Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reduction.

        Dissimilatory Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reduction has an important influence on the geochemistry of modern environments, and Fe(III)-reducing microorganisms, most notably those in the Geobacteraceae family, can play an important role in the bioremediation of subsurface environments contaminated with organic or metal contaminants. Microorganisms with the capacity to conserve energy from Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reduction are phylogenetically dispersed throughout the Bacteria and Archaea. The ability to oxidize hydrogen with the reduction of Fe(III) is a highly conserved characteristic of hyperthermophilic microorganisms and one Fe(III)-reducing Archaea grows at the highest temperature yet recorded for any organism. Fe(III)- and Mn(IV)-reducing microorganisms have the ability to oxidize a wide variety of organic compounds, often completely to carbon dioxide. Typical alternative electron acceptors for Fe(III) reducers include oxygen, nitrate, U(VI) and electrodes. Unlike other commonly considered electron acceptors, Fe(III) and Mn(IV) oxides, the most prevalent form of Fe(III) and Mn(IV) in most environments, are insoluble. Thus, Fe(III)- and Mn(IV)-reducing microorganisms face the dilemma of how to transfer electrons derived from central metabolism onto an insoluble, extracellular electron acceptor. Although microbiological and geochemical evidence suggests that Fe(III) reduction may have been the first form of microbial respiration, the capacity for Fe(III) reduction appears to have evolved several times as phylogenetically distinct Fe(III) reducers have different mechanisms for Fe(III) reduction. Geobacter species, which are representative of the family of Fe(III) reducers that predominate in a wide diversity of sedimentary environments, require direct contact with Fe(III) oxides in order to reduce them. In contrast, Shewanella and Geothrix species produce chelators that solubilize Fe(III) and release electron-shuttling compounds that transfer electrons from the cell surface to the surface of Fe(III) oxides not in direct contact with the cells. Electron transfer from the inner membrane to the outer membrane in Geobacter and Shewanella species appears to involve an electron transport chain of inner-membrane, periplasmic, and outer-membrane c-type cytochromes, but the cytochromes involved in these processes in the two organisms are different. In addition, Geobacter species specifically express flagella and pili during growth on Fe(III) and Mn(IV) oxides and are chemotactic to Fe(II) and Mn(II), which may lead Geobacter species to the oxides under anoxic conditions. The physiological characteristics of Geobacter species appear to explain why they have consistently been found to be the predominant Fe(III)- and Mn(IV)-reducing microorganisms in a variety of sedimentary environments. In comparison with other respiratory processes, the study of Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reduction is in its infancy, but genome-enabled approaches are rapidly advancing our understanding of this environmentally significant physiology.
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          Genome sequence of the dissimilatory metal ion-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis.

          Shewanella oneidensis is an important model organism for bioremediation studies because of its diverse respiratory capabilities, conferred in part by multicomponent, branched electron transport systems. Here we report the sequencing of the S. oneidensis genome, which consists of a 4,969,803-base pair circular chromosome with 4,758 predicted protein-encoding open reading frames (CDS) and a 161,613-base pair plasmid with 173 CDSs. We identified the first Shewanella lambda-like phage, providing a potential tool for further genome engineering. Genome analysis revealed 39 c-type cytochromes, including 32 previously unidentified in S. oneidensis, and a novel periplasmic [Fe] hydrogenase, which are integral members of the electron transport system. This genome sequence represents a critical step in the elucidation of the pathways for reduction (and bioremediation) of pollutants such as uranium (U) and chromium (Cr), and offers a starting point for defining this organism's complex electron transport systems and metal ion-reducing capabilities.

            Author and article information

            1Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, United States of America
            2Chemical Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, United States of America
            3Biosciences Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois, United States of America
            4Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois, United States of America
            5Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America
            simpleThe Institute for Genomic Research United States of America
            Role: Academic Editor
            PLoS Biol
            PLoS Biology
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            August 2006
            8 August 2006
            : 4
            : 8
            (Academic Editor)
            Copyright: © 2006 Marshall et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
            Research Article

            Life sciences


            added an editorial note to Shewanella

            Shewanella can reduce Uranium ions for its respiration, precipitating U(IV) nanoparticles, offering obvious technological advantages. Here Marshall et al explore the roles of outer membrane cytochromes and the extracellular polymeric substance in this process.

            2016-03-21 14:07 UTC

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