Dissimilatory sulfate reduction
Dissimilatory sulfate reduction is a form of anaerobic respiration that uses sulfate as the terminal electron acceptor. This metabolism is found in some types of bacteria and archaea which are often termed sulfate-reducing organisms.
Dissimilatory sulfate reduction occurs in three steps:
- Conversion (activation) of sulfate to Adenosine 5’-phosphosulfate (APS)
- reduction of APS to sulfite
- reduction of sulfite to sulfide
The protein complexes responsible for these chemical conversions — Sat, Apr and Dsr — are found in all currently known organisms that perform dissimilatory sulfate reduction. Energetically, sulfate is a poor electron acceptor for microorganisms as the sulfate-sulfite redox couple is E0' -516 mV, which is too negative to allow reduction by NADH or ferrodoxin that are the primary intracellular electron mediators. To overcome this issue, sulfate is first converted into APS by the enzyme ATP sulfurylase (Sat), at the cost of a single ATP molecule. The APS-sulfite redox couple has a E0' of -60 mV, which allows APS to be reduced by either NADH or reduced ferrodoxin using the enzyme adenylyl-sulfate reductase (Apr), which requires the input of 2 electrons. In the final step, sulfite is reduced by the dissimilatory sulfite reductase (Dsr) to form sulfide, requiring the input of 6 electrons.
Note. The term "dissimilatory" is used when hydrogen sulfide is produced in an anaerobic respiration process. By contrast, the term "assimilatory" would be used in relation to the biosynthesis of organo-sulfur compounds.
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