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Recombination of 2Fe-2S ferredoxins reveals differences in the inheritance of thermostability and midpoint potential

By Ian J. Campbell, Dimithree Kahanda, Joshua T Atkinson, Othneil N. Sparks, Jinyoung Kim, Chia-Ping Tseng, Rafael Verduzco, George N Bennett, Jonathan Silberg

Posted 31 May 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.29.122317

Homologous recombination can be used to create enzymes that exhibit distinct activities and stabilities from proteins in nature, allowing researchers to overcome component limitations in synthetic biology. To investigate how recombination affects the physical properties of an oxidoreductase that transfers electrons, we created ferredoxin (Fd) chimeras by recombining distantly-related cyanobacterial and cyanomyophage Fds that present similar midpoint potentials but distinct thermostabilities. Fd chimeras having a wide range of amino acid substitutions retained the ability to coordinate an iron-sulfur cluster, although their thermostabilities varied with the fraction of residues inherited from each parent. The midpoint potentials of chimeric Fds also varied. However, all of the synthetic Fds exhibited midpoint potentials outside of the parental protein range. Each of the chimeric Fds could also be used to build synthetic pathways that support electron transfer between Fd-NADP reductase and sulfite reductase in Escherichia coli, although the chimeric Fds varied in the expression required to support similar levels of cellular electron transfer. These results show how recombination can be used to rapidly diversify the physical properties of protein electron carriers and reveal differences in the inheritance of thermostability and electrochemical properties. Furthermore, they illustrate how electron transfer efficiencies of chimeric Fds can be rapidly evaluated using a synthetic electron transfer pathway. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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