Investigation of direct vs. indirect involvement of the c-type cytochrome MacA in Fe(III) reduction by Geobacter sulfurreducens


  • Editor: Jörg Simon

Correspondence: Byoung-Chan Kim, Department of Microbiology, 203 Morrill Science IVN, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 639 North Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01003, USA. Tel.: +1 413 577 0217; fax: +1 413 545 1578; e-mail:


The electron transfer pathway to Fe(III) reduction in Geobacter sulfurreducens has been hypothesized to consist of a series of c-type cytochromes. Previous genetic studies suggested that the inner membrane-associated, c-type cytochrome, MacA, was a component of the electron transfer chain leading to Fe(III) reduction in the dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducer, G. sulfurreducens. However, investigation of the expression of OmcB, an outer-membrane c-type cytochrome demonstrated previously to be critical for optimal Fe(III) reduction, revealed that both omcB transcript and protein levels were dramatically reduced in the MacA-deficient mutant. Expression of the omcB gene in trans enabled the MacA-deficient mutant to reduce Fe(III) at a rate that was proportional to the level of omcB expression. These results suggest that MacA is not directly involved in electron transfer to Fe(III) and further confirm the importance of OmcB in Fe(III) reduction by G. sulfurreducens.