Electrically conductive bacterial nanowires produced by Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1 and other microorganisms

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jul 25;103(30):11358-63. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0604517103. Epub 2006 Jul 18.


Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 produced electrically conductive pilus-like appendages called bacterial nanowires in direct response to electron-acceptor limitation. Mutants deficient in genes for c-type decaheme cytochromes MtrC and OmcA, and those that lacked a functional Type II secretion pathway displayed nanowires that were poorly conductive. These mutants were also deficient in their ability to reduce hydrous ferric oxide and in their ability to generate current in a microbial fuel cell. Nanowires produced by the oxygenic phototrophic cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC6803 and the thermophilic, fermentative bacterium Pelotomaculum thermopropionicum reveal that electrically conductive appendages are not exclusive to dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria and may, in fact, represent a common bacterial strategy for efficient electron transfer and energy distribution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Cytochrome c Group / genetics
  • Electric Conductivity*
  • Electrons
  • Ferric Compounds / chemistry
  • Ferric Compounds / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Mutagenesis
  • Mutation
  • Nanotechnology
  • Shewanella / metabolism*
  • Shewanella / ultrastructure*
  • Synechocystis / metabolism


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cytochrome c Group
  • Ferric Compounds
  • omc A protein, Shewanella putrefaciens
  • ferric oxide
  • ferric oxyhydroxide
  • MtrC protein, Shewanella