Thomas A Clarke

University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (40)201.29 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The multiheme, outer membrane c-type cytochrome (c-Cyt) OmcB of Geobactersulfurreducens was previously proposed to mediate electron transfer across the outer membrane. However, the underlying mechanism has remained uncharacterized. In G. sulfurreducens, the omcB geneis part of two tandem four-gene clusters, each is predicted to encode a transcriptional factor (OrfR/OrfS), a porin-like outer membrane protein (OmbB/OmbC), a periplasmic c-type cytochrome (OmaB/OmaC), and an outer membrane c-Cyt (OmcB/OmcC), respectively. Here we showed that OmbB/OmbC, OmaB/OmaCand OmcB/OmcCof G.sulfurreducensPCA formed the porin-cytochrome (Pcc) protein complexes, which were involved in transferring electrons across the outer membrane. The isolated Pcc protein complexes reconstituted in proteoliposomes transferred electrons from reduced methyl viologen across the lipid bilayer of liposomes to Fe(III)-citrate and ferrihydrite. The pcc clusters were found in all eight sequenced Geobacter and 11 other bacterial genomes from six different phyla,demonstrating a widespread distribution of Pcc protein complexes in phylogenetically diverse bacteria. Deletion of ombB-omaB-omcB-orfS-ombC-omaC-omcC gene clusters had no impact on the growth of G.sulfurreducens PCA with fumarate, but diminished the ability of G.sulfurreducens PCA to reduce Fe(III)-citrate and ferrihydrite. Complementation with the ombB-omaB-omcB gene cluster restored the ability of G.sulfurreducensPCA to reduce Fe(III)-citrate and ferrihydrite.
    Environmental Microbiology Reports 08/2014; · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The X-ray crystal structure of Shewanella oneidensis OmcA, an extracellular decaheme cytochrome involved in mineral reduction, was solved to a resolution of 2.7 Å. The four OmcA molecules in the asymmetric unit are arranged so the minimum distance between heme 5 on adjacent OmcA monomers is 9 Å, indicative of a transient OmcA dimer capable of intermolecular electron transfer. A previously identified hematite binding motif was identified near heme 10, forming a hydroxylated surface that would bring a heme 10 electron egress site to ∼ 10 Å of a mineral surface.
    FEBS letters 04/2014; · 3.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OmcA and OmcAbind by X-ray crystallography (View interaction)
    01/2014;
  • David J Richardson, Julea N Butt, Thomas A Clarke
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mineral-respiring bacterium Shewanella oneidensis uses a protein complex, MtrCAB, composed of two decaheme cytochromes, MtrC and MtrA, brought together inside a transmembrane porin, MtrB, to transport electrons across the outer membrane to a variety of mineral-based electron acceptors. A proteoliposome system containing a pool of internalized electron carriers was used to investigate how the topology of the MtrCAB complex relates to its ability to transport electrons across a lipid bilayer to externally located Fe(III) oxides. With MtrA facing the interior and MtrC exposed on the outer surface of the phospholipid bilayer, the established in vivo orientation, electron transfer from the interior electron carrier pool through MtrCAB to solid-phase Fe(III) oxides was demonstrated. The rates were 10(3) times higher than those reported for reduction of goethite, hematite, and lepidocrocite by S. oneidensis, and the order of the reaction rates was consistent with those observed in S. oneidensis cultures. In contrast, established rates for single turnover reactions between purified MtrC and Fe(III) oxides were 10(3) times lower. By providing a continuous flow of electrons, the proteoliposome experiments demonstrate that conduction through MtrCAB directly to Fe(III) oxides is sufficient to support in vivo, anaerobic, solid-phase iron respiration.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The outer-membrane decahaem cytochrome MtrC is part of the transmembrane MtrCAB complex required for mineral respiration by Shewanella oneidensis. MtrC has significant sequence similarity to the paralogous decahaem cytochrome MtrF, which has been structurally solved through X-ray crystallography. This now allows for homology-based models of MtrC to be generated. The structure of these MtrC homology models contain ten bis-histidine-co-ordinated c-type haems arranged in a staggered cross through a four-domain structure. This model is consistent with current spectroscopic data and shows that the areas around haem 5 and haem 10, at the termini of an octahaem chain, are likely to have functions similar to those of the corresponding haems in MtrF. The electrostatic surfaces around haem 7, close to the β-barrels, are different in MtrF and MtrC, indicating that these haems may have different potentials and interact with substrates differently.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 12/2012; 40(6):1181-5. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mineral-respiring bacterium Shewanella oneidensis uses a protein complex, MtrCAB, composed of two decahaem cytochromes brought together inside a transmembrane porin to transport electrons across the outer membrane to a variety of mineral-based electron acceptors. A proteoliposome system has been developed that contains Methyl Viologen as an internalized electron carrier and valinomycin as a membrane-associated cation exchanger. These proteoliposomes can be used as a model system to investigate MtrCAB function.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 12/2012; 40(6):1257-60. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The free energy profile for electron flow through the bacterial decahaem cytochrome MtrF has been computed using thermodynamic integration and classical molecular dynamics. The extensive calculations on two versions of the structure help to validate the method and results, because differences in the profiles can be related to differences in the charged amino acids local to specific haem groups. First estimates of reorganization free energies λ yield a range consistent with expectations for partially solvent-exposed cofactors, and reveal an activation energy range surmountable for electron flow. Future work will aim at increasing the accuracy of λ with polarizable forcefield dynamics and quantum chemical energy gap calculations, as well as quantum chemical computation of electronic coupling matrix elements.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 12/2012; 40(6):1198-203. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Members of the genus Shewanella translocate deca- or undeca-heme cytochromes to the external cell surface thus enabling respiration using extracellular minerals and polynuclear Fe(III) chelates. The high resolution structure of the first undeca-heme outer membrane cytochrome, UndA, reveals a crossed heme chain with four potential electron ingress/egress sites arranged within four domains. Sequence and structural alignment of UndA and the deca-heme MtrF reveals the extra heme of UndA is inserted between MtrF hemes 6 and 7. The remaining UndA hemes can be superposed over the heme chain of the decaheme MtrF, suggesting that a ten heme core is conserved between outer membrane cytochromes. The UndA structure has also been crystallographically resolved in complex with substrates, an Fe(III)-nitrilotriacetate dimer or an Fe(III)-citrate trimer. The structural resolution of these UndA-Fe(III)-chelate complexes provides a rationale for previous kinetic measurements on UndA and other outer membrane cytochromes.
    Structure 06/2012; 20(7):1275-84. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many species of the bacterial Shewanella genus are notable for their ability to respire in anoxic environments utilizing insoluble minerals of Fe(III) and Mn(IV) as extracellular electron acceptors. In Shewanella oneidensis, the process is dependent on the decahaem electron-transport proteins that lie at the extracellular face of the outer membrane where they can contact the insoluble mineral substrates. These extracellular proteins are charged with electrons provided by an inter-membrane electron-transfer pathway that links the extracellular face of the outer membrane with the inner cytoplasmic membrane and thereby intracellular electron sources. In the present paper, we consider the common structural features of two of these outer-membrane decahaem cytochromes, MtrC and MtrF, and bring this together with biochemical, spectroscopic and voltammetric data to identify common and distinct properties of these prototypical members of different clades of the outer-membrane decahaem cytochrome superfamily.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 06/2012; 40(3):493-500. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Denitrifying bacteria convert nitrate (NO(3) (-) ) to dinitrogen (N(2) ) gas through an anaerobic respiratory process in which the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N(2) O) is a free intermediate. These bacteria can be grouped into classes that synthesize a nitrite (NO(2) (-) ) reductase (Nir) that is solely dependent on haem-iron as a cofactor (e.g. Paracoccus denitrificans) or a Nir that is solely dependent on copper (Cu) as a cofactor (e.g. Achromobacter xylosoxidans). Regardless of which form of Nir these groups synthesize, they are both dependent on a Cu-containing nitrous oxide reductase (NosZ) for the conversion of N(2) O to N(2) . Agriculture makes a major contribution to N(2) O release and it is recognized that a number of agricultural lands are becoming Cu-limited but are N-rich because of fertilizer addition. Here we utilize continuous cultures to explore the denitrification phenotypes of P. denitrificans and A. xylosoxidans at a range of extracellular NO(3) (-) , organic carbon and Cu concentrations. Quite distinct phenotypes are observed between the two species. Notably, P. denitrificans emits approximately 40% of NO(3) (-) consumed as N(2) O under NO(3) (-) -rich Cu-deficient conditions, while under the same conditions A. xylosoxidans releases approximately 40% of the NO(3) (-) consumed as NO(2) (-) . However, the denitrification phenotypes are very similar under NO(3) (-) -limited conditions where denitrification intermediates do not accumulate significantly. The results have potential implications for understanding denitrification flux in a range of agricultural environments.
    Environmental Microbiology 05/2012; 14(7):1788-800. · 6.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many species of bacteria can couple anaerobic growth to the respiratory reduction of insoluble minerals containing Fe(III) or Mn(III/IV). It has been suggested that in Shewanella species electrons cross the outer membrane to extracellular substrates via 'porin-cytochrome' electron transport modules. The molecular structure of an outer-membrane extracellular-facing deca-haem terminus for such a module has recently been resolved. It is debated how, once outside the cells, electrons are transferred from outer-membrane cytochromes to insoluble electron sinks. This may occur directly or by assemblies of cytochromes, perhaps functioning as 'nanowires', or via electron shuttles. Here we review recent work in this field and explore whether it allows for unification of the electron transport mechanisms supporting extracellular mineral respiration in Shewanella that may extend into other genera of Gram-negative bacteria.
    Molecular Microbiology 05/2012; 85(2):201-12. · 5.03 Impact Factor
  • Biochemical Society Transactions 01/2012; · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The decahaem homodimeric cytochrome c nitrite reductase (NrfA) is expressed within the periplasm of a wide range of Gamma-, Delta- and Epsilon-proteobacteria and is responsible for the six-electron reduction of nitrite to ammonia. This allows nitrite to be used as a terminal electron acceptor, facilitating anaerobic respiration while allowing nitrogen to remain in a biologically available form. NrfA has also been reported to reduce nitric oxide (a reaction intermediate) and sulfite to ammonia and sulfide respectively, suggesting a potential secondary role as a detoxification enzyme. The protein sequences and crystal structures of NrfA from different bacteria and the closely related octahaem nitrite reductase from Thioalkalivibrio nitratireducens (TvNir) reveal that these enzymes are homologous. The NrfA proteins contain five covalently attached haem groups, four of which are bis-histidine-co-ordinated, with the proximal histidine being provided by the highly conserved CXXCH motif. These haems are responsible for intraprotein electron transfer. The remaining haem is the site for nitrite reduction, which is ligated by a novel lysine residue provided by a CXXCK haem-binding motif. The TvNir nitrite reductase has five haems that are structurally similar to those of NrfA and three extra bis-histidine-coordinated haems that precede the NrfA conserved region. The present review compares the protein sequences and structures of NrfA and TvNir and discusses the subtle differences related to active-site architecture and Ca2+ binding that may have an impact on substrate reduction.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 12/2011; 39(6):1871-5. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The bacterial envelope is the interface with the surrounding environment and is consequently subjected to a barrage of noxious agents including a range of compounds with antimicrobial activity. The ESR (envelope stress response) pathways of enteric bacteria are critical for maintenance of the envelope against these antimicrobial agents. In the present study, we demonstrate that the periplasmic protein ZraP contributes to envelope homoeostasis and assign both chaperone and regulatory function to ZraP from Salmonella Typhimurium. The ZraP chaperone mechanism is catalytic and independent of ATP; the chaperone activity is dependent on the presence of zinc, which is shown to be responsible for the stabilization of an oligomeric ZraP complex. Furthermore, ZraP can act to repress the two-component regulatory system ZraSR, which itself is responsive to zinc concentrations. Through structural homology, ZraP is a member of the bacterial CpxP family of periplasmic proteins, which also consists of CpxP and Spy. We demonstrate environmental co-expression of the CpxP family and identify an important role for these proteins in Salmonella's defence against the cationic antimicrobial peptide polymyxin B.
    Biochemical Journal 11/2011; 442(1):85-93. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phytopathogens deliver effector proteins inside host plant cells to promote infection. These proteins can also be sensed by the plant immune system, leading to restriction of pathogen growth. Effector genes can display signatures of positive selection and rapid evolution, presumably a consequence of their co-evolutionary arms race with plants. The molecular mechanisms underlying how effectors evolve to gain new virulence functions and/or evade the plant immune system are poorly understood. Here, we report the crystal structures of the effector domains from two oomycete RXLR proteins, Phytophthora capsici AVR3a11 and Phytophthora infestans PexRD2. Despite sharing <20% sequence identity in their effector domains, they display a conserved core α-helical fold. Bioinformatic analyses suggest that the core fold occurs in ∼44% of annotated Phytophthora RXLR effectors, both as a single domain and in tandem repeats of up to 11 units. Functionally important and polymorphic residues map to the surface of the structures, and PexRD2, but not AVR3a11, oligomerizes in planta. We conclude that the core α-helical fold enables functional adaptation of these fast evolving effectors through (i) insertion/deletions in loop regions between α-helices, (ii) extensions to the N and C termini, (iii) amino acid replacements in surface residues, (iv) tandem domain duplications, and (v) oligomerization. We hypothesize that the molecular stability provided by this core fold, combined with considerable potential for plasticity, underlies the evolution of effectors that maintain their virulence activities while evading recognition by the plant immune system.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2011; 286(41):35834-35842. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Per-ARNT-Sim (PAS) domain is a conserved α/β fold present within a plethora of signalling proteins from all kingdoms of life. PAS domains are often dimeric and act as versatile sensory and interaction modules to propagate environmental signals to effector domains. The NifL regulatory protein from Azotobacter vinelandii senses the oxygen status of the cell via an FAD cofactor accommodated within the first of two amino-terminal tandem PAS domains, termed PAS1 and PAS2. The redox signal perceived at PAS1 is relayed to PAS2 resulting in conformational reorganization of NifL and consequent inhibition of NifA activity. We have identified mutations in the cofactor-binding cavity of PAS1 that prevent 'release' of the inhibitory signal upon oxidation of FAD. Substitutions of conserved β-sheet residues on the distal surface of the FAD-binding cavity trap PAS1 in the inhibitory signalling state, irrespective of the redox state of the FAD group. In contrast, substitutions within the flanking A'α-helix that comprises part of the dimerization interface of PAS1 prevent transmission of the inhibitory signal. Taken together, these results suggest an inter-subunit pathway for redox signal transmission from PAS1 that propagates from core to the surface in a conformation-dependent manner requiring a flexible dimer interface.
    Molecular Microbiology 08/2011; 82(1):222-35. · 5.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phytopathogens deliver effector proteins inside host plant cells to promote infection. These proteins can also be sensed by the plant immune system, leading to restriction of pathogen growth. Effector genes can display signatures of positive selection and rapid evolution, presumably a consequence of their co-evolutionary arms race with plants. The molecular mechanisms underlying how effectors evolve to gain new virulence functions and/or evade the plant immune system are poorly understood. Here, we report the crystal structures of the effector domains from two oomycete RXLR proteins, Phytophthora capsici AVR3a11 and Phytophthora infestans PexRD2. Despite sharing <20% sequence identity in their effector domains, they display a conserved core α-helical fold. Bioinformatic analyses suggest that the core fold occurs in ∼44% of annotated Phytophthora RXLR effectors, both as a single domain and in tandem repeats of up to 11 units. Functionally important and polymorphic residues map to the surface of the structures, and PexRD2, but not AVR3a11, oligomerizes in planta. We conclude that the core α-helical fold enables functional adaptation of these fast evolving effectors through (i) insertion/deletions in loop regions between α-helices, (ii) extensions to the N and C termini, (iii) amino acid replacements in surface residues, (iv) tandem domain duplications, and (v) oligomerization. We hypothesize that the molecular stability provided by this core fold, combined with considerable potential for plasticity, underlies the evolution of effectors that maintain their virulence activities while evading recognition by the plant immune system.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2011; 286(41):35834-42. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Some bacterial species are able to utilize extracellular mineral forms of iron and manganese as respiratory electron acceptors. In Shewanella oneidensis this involves decaheme cytochromes that are located on the bacterial cell surface at the termini of trans-outer-membrane electron transfer conduits. The cell surface cytochromes can potentially play multiple roles in mediating electron transfer directly to insoluble electron sinks, catalyzing electron exchange with flavin electron shuttles or participating in extracellular intercytochrome electron exchange along "nanowire" appendages. We present a 3.2-Å crystal structure of one of these decaheme cytochromes, MtrF, that allows the spatial organization of the 10 hemes to be visualized for the first time. The hemes are organized across four domains in a unique crossed conformation, in which a staggered 65-Å octaheme chain transects the length of the protein and is bisected by a planar 45-Å tetraheme chain that connects two extended Greek key split β-barrel domains. The structure provides molecular insight into how reduction of insoluble substrate (e.g., minerals), soluble substrates (e.g., flavins), and cytochrome redox partners might be possible in tandem at different termini of a trifurcated electron transport chain on the cell surface.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2011; 108(23):9384-9. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nitrogenase is a globally important enzyme that catalyses the reduction of atmospheric dinitrogen into ammonia and is thus an important part of the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogenase enzyme is composed of a catalytic molybdenum-iron protein (MoFe protein) and a protein containing an [Fe4-S4] cluster (Fe protein) that functions as a dedicated ATP-dependent reductase. The current understanding of electron transfer between these two proteins is based on stopped-flow spectrophotometry, which has allowed the rates of complex formation and electron transfer to be accurately determined. Surprisingly, a total of four Fe protein molecules are required to saturate one MoFe protein molecule, despite there being only two well-characterized Fe-protein-binding sites. This has led to the conclusion that the purified Fe protein is only half-active with respect to electron transfer to the MoFe protein. Studies on the electron transfer between both proteins using rapid-quench EPR confirmed that, during pre-steady-state electron transfer, the Fe protein only becomes half-oxidized. However, stopped-flow spectrophotometry on MoFe protein that had only one active site occupied was saturated by approximately three Fe protein equivalents. These results imply that the Fe protein has a second interaction during the initial stages of mixing that is not involved in electron transfer.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 01/2011; 39(1):201-6. · 2.59 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

811 Citations
201.29 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2014
    • University of East Anglia
      • • Centre for Molecular and Structural Biochemistry
      • • School of Biological Sciences
      Norwich, England, United Kingdom
  • 2003
    • University of Michigan
      • Department of Anesthesiology
      Ann Arbor, MI, United States