Bacillus subtilis 13 kDa cytochrome c-550 encoded by cccA, consists of a membrane-anchor and a heme domain

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Little is known about c-type cytochromosomes in Gram-positive bacteria in contrast to the wealth of information available on this type of cytochrome in Gram-negative bacteria and in eucaryotes. In the present work, the strictly aerobic bacterium Bacillus subtilis was analyzed for subcellular localization and number of different cytochromes c. In vivo labeling with radioactive 5-aminolevulinic acid, a precursor to heme, showed that the proteins containing covalently bound heme are predominantly found in the membranes fraction. One major membrane-bound cytochrome c of about 15 kDa and with an .alpha.-band absorption peak in the reduced state at 550 nm was analyzed in more detail. Cytochrome c-550 has the properties of an integral membrane protein. The physiological function of this relatively high redox potential cytochrome is not known. Its structural gene, cccA, was cloned, sequenced, and overexpressed in B. subtilis. The gene maps adjacent to rpoD (sigA) at on the chromosome. The amino acid sequence of cytochrome c-550 as deduced from the DNA sequence consists of 120 residues and contains one heme c binding site (Cys-Ile-Ala-Cys-His) located approximately in the middle of the polypeptide. From the hydropathy distribution and from comparisons to soluble c-type cytochromes of known three-dimensional structure, cytochrome c-550 seemingly consists of two domains; an N-terminal membrane-anchor domain and a C-terminal heme domain. A model for the topography of the cytochrome in the cytoplasmic membrane is suggested in which the N-terminal part spans the membrane in the form of a single segment in an .alpha.-helical conformation and the C-terminal heme domain is exposed on the extracytoplasmic side of the membrane. Deletion of cccA from the chromosome revealed another membrane-bound cytochrome with absorption maximum at 550 nm in the reduced state. Analysis of cccA deletion mutants demonstrated that the cytochrome c-550 encoded by cccA is not essential for growth of B. subtilis on rich or minimal media.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Microbiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13939-13948
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Publication categoryResearch