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OmcF, A Putative C-Type Monoheme Outer Membrane Cytochrome Required For The Expression Of Other Outer Membrane Cytochromes In Geobacter Sulfurreducens

Byoung-Chan Kim, Ching Leang, Yan-Huai R. Ding, Richard H. Glaven, Maddalena V. Coppi, Derek R. Lovley

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ABSTRACT Outer membrane cytochromes are often proposed as likely agents for electron transfer to extracellular electron acceptors, such as Fe(III). The omcF gene in the dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing microorganism Geobacter sulfurreducens is predicted to code for a small outer membrane monoheme c-type cytochrome. An OmcF-deficient strain was constructed, and its ability to reduce and grow on Fe(III) citrate was found to be impaired. Following a prolonged lag phase (150 h), the OmcF-deficient strain developed the ability to grow in Fe(III) citrate medium with doubling times and yields that were ca. 145% and 70% of those of the wild type, respectively. Comparison of the c-type cytochrome contents of outer membrane-enriched fractions prepared from wild-type and OmcF-deficient cultures confirmed the outer membrane association of OmcF and revealed multiple changes in the cytochrome content of the OmcF-deficient strain. These changes included loss of expression of two previously characterized outer membrane cytochromes, OmcB and OmcC, and overexpression of a third previously characterized outer membrane cytochrome, OmcS, during growth on Fe(III) citrate. The omcB and omcC transcripts could not be detected in the OmcF-deficient mutant by either reverse transcriptase PCR or Northern blot analyses. Expression of the omcF gene in trans restored both the capacity of the OmcF-deficient mutant to reduce Fe(III) and wild-type levels of omcB and omcC mRNA and protein. Thus, elimination of OmcF may impair Fe(III) reduction by influencing expression of OmcB, which has previously been demonstrated to play a critical role in Fe(III) reduction.