The photosynthetic proteobacterium was shown to be capable of dissimilatory Fe(III) reduction. Activity was expressed during anaerobic phototrophic and microaerobic growth with malate as the carbon source, but not during equivalent aerobic growth. A variety of Fe(III) complexes were demonstrated to act as substrates for intact cells and membrane fractions of strain N22DNAR using a ferrozine assay for Fe(II) formation. Rates of reduction appeared to be influenced by the reduction potentials of the Fe(III) complexes. However, Fe(III) complexed by citrate, which is readily reduced by was a poor substrate for dissimilation by The Fe(III)-reducing activity of was located solely in the membrane fraction. The reduction of Fe(III) complexes by intact cells was inhibited by 2-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline--oxide (HQNO), suggesting the involvement of ubiquinol: cytochrome oxidoreductases in the electron transport chain. Lack of sensitivity to myxothiazol plus data from mutant strains implies that the cytochrome complex and cytochrome are not obligatory for dissimilation of Fe(III)(maltol). Alternative pathways of electron transfer to Fe(III) must hence operate in Using strain N22DNAR, the reduction rate of Fe(III) complexed by nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) was elevated compared to that of Fe(III)(maltol), and moreover was sensitive to myxothiazol. However, these differences were not observed in the absence of the electron donor malate. The governing factor for the reduction rate of Fe(III)(maltol) thus appears to be the limited Fe(III)-reducing activity, whilst the reduction rate of Fe(III) complexed by NTA is controlled by the flux of electrons through the respiratory chain. The use of mutant strains confirmed that the role of the cytochrome complex in Fe(III) reduction becomes apparent only with the superior substrate. The energy-conserving nature of Fe(III) reduction by was demonstrated by electrochromic measurements, with the endogenous carotenoid pigments being employed as indicators of membrane potential generation in intact cells. Using Fe(III)EDTA as electron acceptor, periods of membrane potential generation were directly proportional to the quantity of complex added, and were extended in the presence of HQNO. Fe(III)-dependent carotenoid bandshifts were abolished by addition of the protonophoric uncoupler carbonyl cyanide -trifluoromethoxy-phenylhydrazone.


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