Oxidation-reduction reactions underlie energy generation in nearly all life forms. Although most organisms use soluble oxidants and reductants, some microbes can access solid-phase materials as electron-acceptors or -donors via extracellular electron transfer. Many studies have focused on the reduction of solid-phase oxidants. Far less is known about electron uptake via microbial extracellular electron transfer, and almost nothing is known about the associated mechanisms. Here we show that the iron-oxidizing photoautotroph Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 accepts electrons from a poised electrode, with carbon dioxide as the sole carbon source/electron acceptor. Both electron uptake and ruBisCo form I expression are stimulated by light. Electron uptake also occurs in the dark, uncoupled from photosynthesis. Notably, the pioABC operon, which encodes a protein system essential for photoautotrophic growth by ferrous iron oxidation, influences electron uptake. These data reveal a previously unknown metabolic versatility of photoferrotrophs to use extracellular electron transfer for electron uptake.
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