Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 12, pp 5133–5147 | Cite as

A novel enzyme of type VI sulfide:quinone oxidoreductases in purple sulfur photosynthetic bacteria

  • Ágnes Duzs
  • András Tóth
  • Brigitta Németh
  • Tímea Balogh
  • Péter B. Kós
  • Gábor Rákhely
Biotechnologically relevant enzymes and proteins


Sulfide detoxification can be catalyzed by ancient membrane-bound flavoproteins, sulfide:quinone oxidoreductases (Sqr), which have important roles in sulfide homeostasis and sulfide-dependent energy conservation processes by transferring electrons from sulfide to respiratory or photosynthetic membrane electron flow. Sqr enzymes have been categorized into six groups. Several members of the groups I, II, III, and V are well-known, but type IV and VI Sqrs are, as yet, uncharacterized or hardly characterized at all. Here, we report detailed characterization of a type VI sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase (TrSqrF) from a purple sulfur bacterium, Thiocapsa roseopersicina. Phylogenetic analysis classified this enzyme in a special group composed of SqrFs of endosymbionts, while a weaker relationship could be observed with SqrF of Chlorobaculum tepidum which is the only type VI enzyme characterized so far. Directed mutagenesis experiments showed that TrSqrF contributed substantially to the sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase activity of the membranes. Expression of the sqrF gene could be induced by sulfide. Homologous recombinant TrSqrF protein was expressed and purified from the membranes of a SqrF-deleted T. roseopersicina strain. The purified protein contains redox-active covalently bound FAD cofactor. The recombinant TrSqrF enzyme catalyzes sulfur-dependent quinone reduction and prefers ubiquinone-type quinone compounds. Kinetic parameters of TrSqrF show that the affinity of the enzyme is similar to duroquinone and decylubiquinone, but the reaction has substantially lower activation energy with decylubiquinone, indicating that the quinone structure has an effect on the catalytic process. TrSqrF enzyme affinity for sulfide is low, therefore, in agreement with the gene expressional analyis, SqrF could play a role in energy-conserving sulfide oxidation at high sulfide concentrations. TrSqrF is a good model enzyme for the subgroup of type VI Sqrs of endosymbionts and its characterization might provide deeper insight into the molecular details of the ancient, anoxic, energy-gaining processes using sulfide as an electron donor.


Sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase (Sqr) Sulfur metabolism Quinone reduction Purple sulfur photosynthetic bacteria Enzyme kinetics Anoxic energy gaining 



The authors gratefully thank Klára Katonáné Lehoczky for excellent technical assistance. This research was supported by the European Union and the State of Hungary, co-financed by the European Social Fund in the framework of TÁMOP 4.2.4. A/2-11-1-2012-0001 “National Excellence Program.” This work was supported by the European Union and European Regional Development Fund (GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00001).


This study was funded by the European Union and co-financed by the European Social Fund (grant agreement no. TÁMOP-4.2.4.A/2-11/1-2012-0001 “National Excellence Program”) and by the GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00001 grant.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

The research presented did not involve any human participants.

Supplementary material

253_2018_8973_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (388 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 388 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary
  2. 2.Institute of Biophysics, Biological Research CentreHungarian Academy of SciencesSzegedHungary
  3. 3.Institute of Plant Biology, Biological Research CentreHungarian Academy of SciencesSzegedHungary

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