Identification of c-type cytochromes involved in anaerobic, bacterial U(IV) oxidation

Harry R. Beller, Tina C. Legler, Feliza Bourguet, Tracy E. Letain, Staci R. Kane, Matthew A Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Anaerobic, bacterial reduction of water-soluble U(VI) complexes to the poorly soluble U(IV) mineral uraninite has been intensively studied as a strategy for in situ remediation of uranium-contaminated groundwater. A novel and potentially counteracting metabolic process, anaerobic, nitrate-dependent U(IV) oxidation, has recently been described in two bacterial species (Geobacter metallireducens and Thiobacillus denitrificans), but the underlying biochemistry and genetics are completely unknown. We report here that two diheme, c-type cytochromes (putatively c 4 and c 5 cytochromes) play a major role in nitrate-dependent U(IV) oxidation by T. denitrificans. Insertion mutations in each of the two genes encoding these cytochromes resulted in a greater than 50% decrease in U(IV) oxidation activity, and complementation in trans restored activity to wild-type levels. Sucrose-density-gradient ultracentrifugation confirmed that both cytochromes are membrane-associated. Insertion mutations in genes encoding other membrane-associated, c-type cytochromes did not diminish U(IV) oxidation. This is the first report of proteins involved in anaerobic U(IV) oxidation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic
  • Cytochrome
  • Genetic system
  • Thiobacillus denitrificans
  • Uranium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pollution
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Bioengineering


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