Cell 2020 Aug 6;182(4):919-932.e19. Epub 2020 Aug 6.
Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, USA; Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, USA. Electronic address:
Redox cycling of extracellular electron shuttles can enable the metabolic activity of subpopulations within multicellular bacterial biofilms that lack direct access to electron acceptors or donors. How these shuttles catalyze extracellular electron transfer (EET) within biofilms without being lost to the environment has been a long-standing question. Here, we show that phenazines mediate efficient EET through interactions with extracellular DNA (eDNA) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Retention of pyocyanin (PYO) and phenazine carboxamide in the biofilm matrix is facilitated by eDNA binding. In vitro, different phenazines can exchange electrons in the presence or absence of DNA and can participate directly in redox reactions through DNA. In vivo, biofilm eDNA can also support rapid electron transfer between redox active intercalators. Together, these results establish that PYO:eDNA interactions support an efficient redox cycle with rapid EET that is faster than the rate of PYO loss from the biofilm.