Extracellular electron transfer is the key process underpinning the development of bioelectrochemical systems for the production of energy or addedvalue compounds. Thermincola potens JR is a promising Gram-positive bacterium to be used in these systems because it is thermophilic. In this paper, we describe the structural and functional properties of the nonaheme cytochrome OcwA, which is the terminal reductase of this organism. The structure of OcwA, determined at 2.2-Å resolution, shows that the overall fold and organization of the hemes are not related to other metal reductases and instead are similar to those of multiheme cytochromes involved in the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen and sulfur. We show that, in addition to solid electron acceptors, OcwA can also reduce soluble electron shuttles and oxyanions. These data reveal that OcwA can work as a multipurpose respiratory enzyme allowing this organism to grow in environments with rapidly changing availability of terminal electron acceptors without the need for transcriptional regulation and protein synthesis.
- Bioelectrochemical systems
- Extracellular electron transfer
- Gram-positive bacteria
- Multiheme cytochromes
- Terminal oxidoreductases