In the model microbe Shewanella oneidensis, multi-heme proteins are utilized for respiratory metabolism where metals serve as the terminal electron acceptor. Among those is the periplasm-localized small tetraheme cytochrome (STC). STC has been extensively characterized structurally and electrochemically to which electron flow in and out of the protein has been modeled. However, until the present work, no kinetic studies have been performed to probe the route of electron flow or to determine the iron-binding site on STC. Using iron chelated by EDTA, NTA, or citrate, we have used chemical modification, site-directed mutagenesis along with isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), and stopped-flow measurements to identify the iron binding site of STC. Chemical modifications of STC revealed that carboxyl groups on STC are involved in binding of EDTA-Fe 3+. Scanning mutagenesis was performed on Asp and Glu to probe the putative iron-binding site on STC. Two STC mutants (D21N; D80N) showed ∼70% decrease in observed electron transfer rate constant with EDTA-Fe 3+ from transient-state kinetic measurements. The impaired reactivity of STC (D80N/D21N) with EDTA-Fe 3+ was further confirmed by a significant decrease (>10-fold) in iron binding affinity.
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