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Issue 6, 2015
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Spectroscopic study on uranyl carboxylate complexes formed at the surface layer of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius

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Abstract

The complexation of U(VI) at the proteinaceous surface layer (S-layer) of the archaeal strain Sulfolobus acidocaldarius was investigated over a pH range from pH 1.5 to 6 at the molecular scale using time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (TRLFS) and U LIII-edge extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS). The S-layer, which represents the interface between the cell and its environment, is very stable against high temperatures, proteases, and detergents. This allowed the isolation and purification of S-layer ghosts (= empty cells) that maintain the size and shape of the cells. In contrast to many other microbial cell envelope compounds the studied S-layer is not phosphorylated, enabling the investigation of uranyl carboxylate complexes formed at microbial surfaces. The latter are usually masked by preferentially formed uranyl phosphate complexes. We demonstrated that at highly acidic conditions (pH 1.5 to 3) no uranium was bound by the S-layer. In contrast to that, at moderate acidic pH conditions (pH 4.5 and 6) a complexation of U(VI) at the S-layer via deprotonated carboxylic groups was stimulated. Titration studies revealed dissociation constants for the carboxylic groups of glutamic and aspartic acid residues of pKa = 4.78 and 6.31. The uranyl carboxylate complexes formed at the S-layer did not show luminescence properties at room temperature, but only under cryogenic conditions. The obtained luminescence maxima are similar to those of uranyl acetate. EXAFS spectroscopy demonstrated that U(VI) in these complexes is mainly coordinated to carboxylate groups in a bidentate binding mode. The elucidation of the molecular structure of these complexes was facilitated by the absence of phosphate groups in the studied S-layer protein.

Graphical abstract: Spectroscopic study on uranyl carboxylate complexes formed at the surface layer of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Aug 2014, accepted on 31 Oct 2014 and first published on 11 Nov 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4DT02555E
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Citation: Dalton Trans., 2015,44, 2684-2692
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    Spectroscopic study on uranyl carboxylate complexes formed at the surface layer of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius

    T. Reitz, A. Rossberg, A. Barkleit, R. Steudtner, S. Selenska-Pobell and M. L. Merroun, Dalton Trans., 2015, 44, 2684
    DOI: 10.1039/C4DT02555E

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