Membrane cytochrome b5 reductase is a pleiotropic oxidoreductase that uses primarily soluble reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) as an electron donor to reduce multiple biological acceptors localized in cellular membranes. Some of the biological acceptors of the reductase and coupled redox proteins might eventually transfer electrons to oxygen to form reactive oxygen species. Additionally, an inefficient electron transfer to redox acceptors can lead to electron uncoupling and superoxide anion formation by the reductase. Many efforts have been made to characterize the involved catalytic domains in the electron transfer from the reduced flavoprotein to its electron acceptors, such as cytochrome b5, through a detailed description of the flavin and NADH-binding sites. This information might help to understand better the processes and modifications involved in reactive oxygen formation by the cytochrome b5 reductase. Nevertheless, more than half a century since this enzyme was first purified, the one-electron transfer process toward potential electron acceptors of the reductase is still only partially understood. New advances in computational analysis of protein structures allow predicting the intramolecular protein dynamics, identifying potential functional sites, or evaluating the effects of microenvironment changes in protein structure and dynamics. We applied this approach to characterize further the roles of amino acid domains within cytochrome b5 reductase structure, part of the catalytic domain, and several sensors and structural domains involved in the interactions with cytochrome b5 and other electron acceptors. The computational analysis results allowed us to rationalize some of the available spectroscopic data regarding ligand-induced conformational changes leading to an increase in the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) solvent-exposed surface, which has been previously correlated with the formation of complexes with electron acceptors.
Discovered the activation of moving single-bubble sonoluminescence and radioluminescence for Gd3+ and Dy3+ ions in aqueous solutions of GdCl3 and DyCl3 by the acceptor of a hydrated electron (eaq-): H+, Cd2+, etc. This activation is similar to the previously found activation by acceptors of eaq- radioluminescence and single-bubble sonoluminescence for the Tb3+ ion. Electron acceptors do not affect the quantum yield of the said lantha-nide ions photoluminescence. They also do not affect the yield of their multibubble sonoluminescence in aqueous solutions, since eaqdoes not appear in significant amounts during multibubble sonolysis. The found luminescence activation effects of lanthanide ions are interpreted as a consequence of the suppression of the quenching (reduction) reactions of these electronically excited ions eaq: *Ln3+ + eaq- → Ln2+ by acceptors. The feasibility of these reactions was predicted for all Ln3+ ions based on a theoretical estimate of their free energy. The discovery of the described effects of activation of the luminescence of Ln3+ ions is a consequence and serves as confirmation of not only the known generation of eaq- during radiolysis, but also its previously unknown generation during moving single-bubble sonolysis of water.
Every living cell needs to get rid of leftover electrons when metabolism extracts energy through the oxidation of nutrients. Common soil microbes such as Geobacter sulfurreducens live in harsh environments that do not afford the luxury of soluble, ingestible electron acceptors like oxygen. Instead of resorting to fermentation, which requires the export of reduced compounds (e.g. ethanol or lactate derived from pyruvate) from the cell, these organisms have evolved a means to anaerobically respire by using nanowires to export electrons to extracellular acceptors in a process called extracellular electron transfer (EET) [ 1]. Since 2005, these nanowires were thought to be pili filaments [ 2]. But recent studies have revealed that nanowires are composed of multiheme cytochromes OmcS [ 3, 4] and OmcZ [ 5] whereas pili remain inside the cell during EET and are required for the secretion of nanowires [ 6]. However, how electrons are passed to these nanowires remains a mystery ( Figure 1A). Periplasmic cytochromes (Ppc) called PpcA-E could be doing the job, but only two of them (PpcA and PpcD) can couple electron/proton transfer — a necessary condition for energy generation. In a recent study, Salgueiro and co-workers selectively replaced an aromatic with an aliphatic residue to couple electron/proton transfer in PpcB and PpcE (Biochem. J. 2021, 478 (14): 2871–2887). This significant in vitro success of their protein engineering strategy may enable the optimization of bioenergetic machinery for bioenergy, biofuels, and bioelectronics applications.
Recent studies have shown the presence of an abiotic electrical current across the walls of deep-sea hydrothermal chimneys, allowing the growth of electroautotrophic microbial communities. To understand the role of the different phylogenetic groups and metabolisms involved, this study focused on electrotrophic enrichment with nitrate as electron acceptor. The biofilm density, community composition, production of organic compounds, and electrical consumption were monitored by FISH confocal microscopy, qPCR, metabarcoding, NMR, and potentiostat measurements. A statistical analysis by PCA showed the correlation between the different parameters (qPCR, organic compounds, and electron acceptors) in three distinct temporal phases. In our conditions, the Archaeoglobales have been shown to play a key role in the development of the community as the first colonizers on the cathode and the first producers of organic compounds, which are then used as an organic source by heterotrophs. Finally, through subcultures of the community, we showed the development of a greater biodiversity over time. This observed phenomenon could explain the biodiversity development in hydrothermal contexts, where energy sources are transient and unstable.