The redox potential values of cytochromes can be modulated by the protonation/deprotonation of neighbor groups (redox-Bohr effect), a mechanism that permits the proteins to couple electron/proton transfer. In the respiratory chains, this effect is particularly relevant if observed in the physiological pH range, as it may contribute to the electrochemical gradient for ATP synthesis. A constitutively produced family of five triheme cytochromes (PpcA−E) from the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens plays a crucial role in extracellular electron transfer, a hallmark that permits this bacterium to be explored for several biotechnological applications. Two members of this family (PpcA and PpcD) couple electron/proton transfer in the physiological pH range, a feature not shared with PpcB and PpcE. That ability is crucial for G. sulfurreducens’ growth in Fe(III)-reducing habitats since extra contributors to the electrochemical gradient are needed. It was postulated that the redox-Bohr effect is determined by the nature of residue 6, a leucine in PpcA/PpcD and a phenylalanine in PpcB/PpcE. To confirm this hypothesis, Phe6 was replaced by leucine in PpcB and PpcE. The functional properties of these mutants were investigated by NMR and UV–visible spectroscopy to assess their capability to couple electron/proton transfer in the physiological pH range. The results obtained showed that the mutants have an increased redox-Bohr effect and are now capable of coupling electron/proton transfer. This confirms the determinant role of the nature of residue 6 in the modulation of the redox-Bohr effect in this family of cytochromes, opening routes to engineer Geobacter cells with improved biomass production.

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