skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on September 1, 2023

Title: Evidence for Quinol Oxidation Activity of ImoA, a Novel NapC/NirT Family Protein from the Neutrophilic Fe(II)-Oxidizing Bacterium Sideroxydans lithotrophicus ES-1
ABSTRACT Sideroxydans species are important chemolithoautotrophic Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria in freshwater environments and play a role in biogeochemical cycling of multiple elements. Due to difficulties in laboratory cultivation and genetic intractability, the electron transport proteins required for the growth and survival of this organism remain understudied. In Sideroxydans lithotrophicus ES-1, it is proposed that the Mto pathway transfers electrons from extracellular Fe(II) oxidation across the periplasm to an inner membrane NapC/NirT family protein encoded by Slit_2495 to reduce the quinone pool. Based on sequence similarity, Slit_2495 has been putatively called CymA, a NapC/NirT family protein which in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 oxidizes the quinol pool during anaerobic respiration of a wide range of substrates. However, our phylogenetic analysis using the alignment of different NapC/NirT family proteins shows that Slit_2495 clusters closer to NirT sequences than to CymA. We propose the name ImoA (inner membrane oxidoreductase) for Slit_2495. Our data demonstrate that ImoA can oxidize quinol pools in the inner membrane and is able to functionally replace CymA in S. oneidensis. The ability of ImoA to oxidize quinol in vivo as opposed to its proposed function of reducing quinone raises questions about the directionality and/or reversibility of electron flow through the Mto pathway in more » S. lithotrophicus. IMPORTANCE Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria play an important role in biogeochemical cycles. At circumneutral pH, these organisms perform extracellular electron transfer, taking up electrons from Fe(II) outside the cell, potentially through a porin-cytochrome complex in the outer membrane encoded by the Mto pathway. Electrons from Fe(II) oxidation would then be transported to the quinone pool in the inner membrane via periplasmic and inner membrane electron transfer proteins. Directly demonstrating the functionality of genes in neutrophilic iron oxidizers is challenging due to the absence of robust genetic methods. Here, we heterologously expressed a NapC/NirT family tetraheme cytochrome ImoA, encoded by Slit_2495, an inner membrane protein from the Gram-negative Fe(II)-oxidizing bacterium Sideroxydans lithotrophicus ES-1, proposed to be involved in extracellular electron transfer to reduce the quinone pool. ImoA functionally replaced the inner membrane c-type cytochrome CymA in the Fe(III)-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis. We suggest that ImoA may function primarily to oxidize quinol inS. lithotrophicus. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Editors:
Newman, Dianne K.
Award ID(s):
1815584
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10373809
Journal Name:
mBio
ISSN:
2150-7511
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Neutrophilic Fe(II) oxidizing bacteria play an important role in biogeochemical processes and have also received attention for multiple technological applications. These micro-organisms are thought to couple their metabolism with extracellular electron transfer (EET) while oxidizing Fe(II) as electron donor outside the cell. Sideroxydans lithotrophicus ES-1 is a freshwater chemolithoautotrophic Fe(II) oxidizing bacterium that is challenging to culture and not yet genetically tractable. Analysis of the S. lithotrophicus ES-1 genome predicts multiple EET pathways, which are proposed to be involved in Fe(II) oxidation, but not yet validated. Here we expressed components of two of the proposed EET pathways, including the Mto and Slit_0867–0870 PCC3 pathways , from S. lithotrophicus ES-1 into Aeromonas hydrophila , an established model EET organism. We demonstrate that combinations of putative inner membrane and periplasmic components from the Mto and Slit_0867–0870 PCC3 pathways partially complemented EET activity in Aeromonas mutants lacking native components. Our results provide evidence for electron transfer functionality and interactions of inner membrane and periplasmic components from the Mto and Slit_0867–0870 PCC3 pathways. Based on these findings, we suggest that EET in S. lithotrophicus ES-1 could be more complicated than previously considered and raises questions regarding directionality of these electron transfer pathways.
  2. Komeili, Arash (Ed.)
    Iron (Fe) oxidation is one of Earth’s major biogeochemical processes, key to weathering, soil formation, water quality, and corrosion. However, our understanding of microbial contribution is limited by incomplete knowledge of microbial iron oxidation mechanisms, particularly in neutrophilic iron oxidizers. The genomes of many diverse iron oxidizers encode a homolog to an outer membrane cytochrome (Cyc2) shown to oxidize iron in two acidophiles. Phylogenetic analyses show Cyc2 sequences from neutrophiles cluster together, suggesting a common function, though this function has not been verified in these organisms. Therefore, we investigated the iron oxidase function of heterologously expressed Cyc2 from a neutrophilic iron oxidizer Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1. Cyc2 PV-1 is capable of oxidizing iron, and its redox potential is 208 ± 20 mV, consistent with the ability to accept electrons from Fe2+ at neutral pH. These results support the hypothesis that Cyc2 functions as an iron oxidase in neutrophilic iron-oxidizing organisms. The results of sequence analysis and modeling reveal that the entire Cyc2 family shares a unique fused cytochrome-porin structure, with a defining consensus motif in the cytochrome region. On the basis of results from structural analyses, we predict that the monoheme cytochrome Cyc2 specifically oxidizes dissolved Fe2+, in contrast to multiheme iron oxidases, whichmore »may oxidize solid Fe(II). With our results, there is now functional validation for diverse representatives of Cyc2 sequences. We present a comprehensive Cyc2 phylogenetic tree and offer a roadmap for identifying cyc2/Cyc2 homologs and interpreting their function. The occurrence of cyc2 in many genomes beyond known iron oxidizers presents the possibility that microbial iron oxidation may be a widespread metabolism. IMPORTANCE Iron is practically ubiquitous across Earth’s environments, central to both life and geochemical processes, which depend heavily on the redox state of iron. Although iron oxidation, or “rusting,” can occur abiotically at near-neutral pH, we find neutrophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) are widespread, including in aquifers, sediments, hydrothermal vents, pipes, and water treatment systems. FeOB produce highly reactive Fe(III) oxyhydroxides that bind a variety of nutrients and toxins; thus, these microbes are likely a controlling force in iron and other biogeochemical cycles. There has been mounting evidence that Cyc2 functions as an iron oxidase in neutrophiles, but definitive proof of its function has long eluded us. This work provides conclusive biochemical evidence of iron oxidation by Cyc2 from neutrophiles. Cyc2 is common to a wide variety of iron oxidizers, including acidophilic and phototrophic iron oxidizers, suggesting that this fused cytochrome-porin structure is especially well adapted for iron oxidation.« less
  3. Buan, Nicole R. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Sideroxydans lithotrophicus ES-1 grows autotrophically either by Fe(II) oxidation or by thiosulfate oxidation, in contrast to most other isolates of neutrophilic Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB). This provides a unique opportunity to explore the physiology of a facultative FeOB and constrain the genes specific to Fe(II) oxidation. We compared the growth of S. lithotrophicus ES-1 on Fe(II), thiosulfate, and both substrates together. While initial growth rates were similar, thiosulfate-grown cultures had higher yield with or without Fe(II) present, which may give ES-1 an advantage over obligate FeOB. To investigate the Fe(II) and S oxidation pathways, we conducted transcriptomics experiments, validated with reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). We explored the long-term gene expression response at different growth phases (over days to a week) and expression changes during a short-term switch from thiosulfate to Fe(II) (90 min). The dsr and sox sulfur oxidation genes were upregulated in thiosulfate cultures. The Fe(II) oxidase gene cyc2 was among the top expressed genes during both Fe(II) and thiosulfate oxidation, and addition of Fe(II) to thiosulfate-grown cells caused an increase in cyc2 expression. These results support the role of Cyc2 as the Fe(II) oxidase and suggest that ES-1 maintains readiness to oxidize Fe(II), even in the absence ofmore »Fe(II). We used gene expression profiles to further constrain the ES-1 Fe(II) oxidation pathway. Notably, among the most highly upregulated genes during Fe(II) oxidation were genes for alternative complex III, reverse electron transport, and carbon fixation. This implies a direct connection between Fe(II) oxidation and carbon fixation, suggesting that CO 2 is an important electron sink for Fe(II) oxidation. IMPORTANCE Neutrophilic FeOB are increasingly observed in various environments, but knowledge of their ecophysiology and Fe(II) oxidation mechanisms is still relatively limited. Sideroxydans isolates are widely observed in aquifers, wetlands, and sediments, and genome analysis suggests metabolic flexibility contributes to their success. The type strain ES-1 is unusual among neutrophilic FeOB isolates, as it can grow on either Fe(II) or a non-Fe(II) substrate, thiosulfate. Almost all our knowledge of neutrophilic Fe(II) oxidation pathways comes from genome analyses, with some work on metatranscriptomes. This study used culture-based experiments to test the genes specific to Fe(II) oxidation in a facultative FeOB and refine our model of the Fe(II) oxidation pathway. We gained insight into how facultative FeOB like ES-1 connect Fe, S, and C biogeochemical cycling in the environment and suggest a multigene indicator would improve understanding of Fe(II) oxidation activity in environments with facultative FeOB.« less
  4. Oxidative weathering of pyrite plays an important role in the biogeochemical cycling of Fe and S in terrestrial environments. While the mechanism and occurrence of biologically accelerated pyrite oxidation under acidic conditions are well established, much less is known about microbially mediated pyrite oxidation at circumneutral pH. Recent work (Percak-Dennett et al., 2017, Geobiology, 15, 690) has demonstrated the ability of aerobic chemolithotrophic microorganisms to accelerate pyrite oxidation at circumneutral pH and proposed two mechanistic models by which this phenomenon might occur. Here, we assess the potential relevance of aerobic microbially catalyzed circumneutral pH pyrite oxidation in relation to subsurface shale weathering at Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (SSHCZO) in Pennsylvania, USA. Specimen pyrite mixed with native shale was incubated in groundwater for 3 months at the inferred depth of in situ pyrite oxidation. The colonized materials were used as an inoculum for pyrite-oxidizing enrichment cultures. Microbial activity accelerated the release of sulfate across all conditions. 16S rRNA gene sequencing and metagenomic analysis revealed the dominance of a putative chemolithoautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacterium from the genus Thiobacillus in the enrichment cultures. Previously proposed models for aerobic microbial pyrite oxidation were assessed in terms of physical constraints, enrichment culture geochemistry, andmore »metagenomic analysis. Although we conclude that subsurface pyrite oxidation at SSCHZO is largely abiotic, this work nonetheless yields new insight into the potential pathways by which aerobic microorganisms may accelerate pyrite oxidation at circumneutral pH. We propose a new “direct sulfur oxidation” pathway, whereby sulfhydryl-bearing outer membrane proteins mediate oxidation of pyrite surfaces through a persulfide intermediate, analogous to previously proposed mechanisms for direct microbial oxidation of elemental sulfur. The action of this and other direct microbial pyrite oxidation pathways have major implications for controls on pyrite weathering rates in circumneutral pH sedimentary environments where pore throat sizes permit widespread access of microorganisms to pyrite surfaces.« less
  5. ABSTRACT The Thaumarchaeota is a diverse archaeal phylum comprising numerous lineages that play key roles in global biogeochemical cycling, particularly in the ocean. To date, all genomically characterized marine thaumarchaea are reported to be chemolithoautotrophic ammonia oxidizers. In this study, we report a group of putatively heterotrophic marine thaumarchaea (HMT) with small genome sizes that is globally abundant in the mesopelagic, apparently lacking the ability to oxidize ammonia. We assembled five HMT genomes from metagenomic data and show that they form a deeply branching sister lineage to the ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA). We identify this group in metagenomes from mesopelagic waters in all major ocean basins, with abundances reaching up to 6% of that of AOA. Surprisingly, we predict the HMT have small genomes of ∼1 Mbp, and our ancestral state reconstruction indicates this lineage has undergone substantial genome reduction compared to other related archaea. The genomic repertoire of HMT indicates a versatile metabolism for aerobic chemoorganoheterotrophy that includes a divergent form III-a RuBisCO, a 2M respiratory complex I that has been hypothesized to increase energetic efficiency, and a three-subunit heme-copper oxidase complex IV that is absent from AOA. We also identify 21 pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)-dependent dehydrogenases that are predicted tomore »supply reducing equivalents to the electron transport chain and are among the most highly expressed HMT genes, suggesting these enzymes play an important role in the physiology of this group. Our results suggest that heterotrophic members of the Thaumarchaeota are widespread in the ocean and potentially play key roles in global chemical transformations. IMPORTANCE It has been known for many years that marine Thaumarchaeota are abundant constituents of dark ocean microbial communities, where their ability to couple ammonia oxidation and carbon fixation plays a critical role in nutrient dynamics. In this study, we describe an abundant group of putatively heterotrophic marine Thaumarchaeota (HMT) in the ocean with physiology distinct from those of their ammonia-oxidizing relatives. HMT lack the ability to oxidize ammonia and fix carbon via the 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate pathway but instead encode a form III-a RuBisCO and diverse PQQ-dependent dehydrogenases that are likely used to conserve energy in the dark ocean. Our work expands the scope of known diversity of Thaumarchaeota in the ocean and provides important insight into a widespread marine lineage.« less