A hybrid cyt c maturation system enhances the bioelectrical performance of engineered Escherichia coli by improving the rate-limiting step
Su, Lin; Fukushima, Tatsuya; Ajo-Franklin, Caroline M.
Bioelectronic devices can use electron flux to enable communication between biotic components and abiotic electrodes. We have modified Escherichia coli to electrically interact with electrodes by expressing the cytochrome c from Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. However, we observe inefficient electrical performance, which we hypothesize is due to the limited compatibility of the E. coli cytochrome c maturation (Ccm) systems with MR-1 cytochrome c. Here we test whether the bioelectronic performance of E. coli can be improved by constructing hybrid Ccm systems containing protein domains from both E. coli and S. oneidensis MR-1. The hybrid CcmH increased cytochrome c expression by increasing the abundance of CymA 60%, while only slightly changing the abundance of the other cytochromes c. Electrochemical measurements showed that the overall current from the hybrid ccm strain increased 121% relative to the wildtype ccm strain, with an electron flux per cell of 12.3 ± 0.3 fA·cell−1. Additionally, the hybrid ccm strain doubled its electrical response with the addition of exogenous flavin, and quantitative analysis of this demonstrates CymA is the rate-limiting step in this electron conduit. These results demonstrate that this hybrid Ccm system can enhance the bioelectrical performance of the cyt c expressing E. coli, allowing the construction of more efficient bioelectronic devices.
Bioelectronic sensor; Cytochrome maturation; Microbial electrochemistry; Microbial fuel cell; Synthetic biology