Bacterial cytochromes c biogenesis

D. L. Beckman, D. R. Trawick, R. G. Kranz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


We report the primary sequence analyses of two loci, hel and ccl, whose gene products are required specifically for the biogenesis of c-type cytochromes in the Gram-negative photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus. Genetic and molecular analyses show that the hel locus contains at least four genes, helA, helB, helC, and orf52, and the ccl locus contains two genes, cel1 and ccl2, that are essential for cytochromes c biogenesis. HelA is homologous to a class of proteins called ABC transporters and helA, helB, and helC are proposed to encode an export complex. Cytochrome c2-alkaline phosphatase gene fusions were used to show that apocytochrome c2 synthesis and secretion are not affected by the hel and ccl defects. Cel1 and Ccl2 possess typical signal sequences to direct them to the periplasm. The periplasmic orientation of Cel1 was confirmed using a Ccl1-alkaline phosphatase gene fusion. The Ccl1-alkaline phosphatase gene fusion analysis also demonstrated that Ccl1 does not require hel genes for its synthesis and secretion. Ccl1 is homologous to proteins encoded by chloroplast and mitochondrial genes, suggesting analogous functions in these organelles. Taken together, these results support the hypothesis that the hel-encoded proteins are required for the export of heme to the periplasm where it is subsequently ligated to the c-type apocytochromes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-283
Number of pages16
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


  • Biogenesis
  • Cytochrome
  • Heme
  • Secretion
  • Transporter


Dive into the research topics of 'Bacterial cytochromes c biogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this