Direct Electron-Transfer Anisotropy of a Site-Specifically Immobilized Cellobiose Dehydrogenase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To study the direct electron transfer (DET) of the multicofactor enzyme cellobiose dehydrogenase (CDH) in regard to its orientation on an electrode surface, a recently published, maleimide-based immobilization method was used in combination with site-directed mutagenesis to establish different orientations on an electrode surface. CDH from Myriococcum thermophilum was chosen for this study because its protein structure is resolved and the factors influencing the movement of its mobile cytochrome domain (CYT) are established. Seven CDH variants with a surface-exposed cysteine residue in different spatial positions were generated for site-specific maleimide coupling. Surface plasmon resonance and cyclic voltammetry showed that all CDH variants, but not the wild-type CDH, bound covalently to gold electrodes or glassy carbon electrodes and were catalytically active. For DET, the CYT domain needs to move from the closed-state conformation, where it obtains an electron from the catalytic flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) cofactor to the open state where it can donate an electron to the electrode. We therefore hypothesized that the mobility of the CYT domain and its distance to the electrode is central for DET. We found that the uniform spatial orientations of CDH influenced DET as follows: an orientation of the two-domain enzyme on the side, with CYT in proximity to the electrode, resulted in high DET currents. Orientations with a bigger distance between CYT and the electrode, or orientations where CYT could not swing back to the dehydrogenase domain to form the closed enzyme conformation, reduced DET. In the latter case, calcium ions that stabilize the closed conformation of CDH fully recovered DET. The study demonstrates that a mobile CYT domain can compensate unfavorable orientations of the catalytic domain to a great extent and allows CDH as a multicofactor enzyme to transfer electrons even in awkward orientations. The mobile CYT domain reduces the anisotropy of DET, which is also essential for CDH's physiological function as an extracellular, electron-transferring enzyme.


  • Su Ma
  • Christophe V.F.P. Laurent
  • Marta Meneghello
  • Jani Tuoriniemi
  • Chris Oostenbrink
  • Lo Gorton
  • Philip N. Bartlett
  • Roland Ludwig
External organisations
  • University of Southampton
  • Lund University
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Structural Biology


  • anisotropic orientation, cellobiose dehydrogenase, direct electron transfer, molecular modeling, site-specific immobilization, site-specific mutagenesis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7607-7615
JournalACS Catalysis
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch