Spin-Dependent Electron Transport through Bacterial Cell Surface Multiheme Electron Conduits

Multiheme cytochromes, located on the bacterial cell surface, function as long-distance (> 10 nm) electron conduits linking intracellular reactions to external surfaces. This extracellular electron transfer process, which allows microorganisms to gain energy by respiring solid redox-active minerals, also facilitates the wiring of cells to electrodes. While recent studies suggested that a chiral induced spin selectivity effect is linked to efficient electron transmission through biomolecules, this phenomenon has not been investigated in the extracellular electron conduits. Using magnetic conductive probe atomic force microscopy, Hall voltage measurements, and spin-dependent electrochemistry of the decaheme cytochromes MtrF and OmcA from the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1, we show that electron transport through these extracellular conduits is spin-selective. Our study has implications for understanding how spin-dependent interactions and magnetic fields may control electron transport across biotic-abiotic interfaces in both natural and biotechnological systems.