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Infect Immun. Nov 1996; 64(11): 4549–4556.
PMCID: PMC174411

Contribution of TonB- and Feo-mediated iron uptake to growth of Salmonella typhimurium in the mouse.


We examined the role of iron(II) and iron(III) uptake, mediated by FeoB and TonB, respectively, in infection of the mouse by Salmonella typhimurium. The S. typhimurium feoB gene, encoding a homolog of an Escherichia coli cytoplasmic membrane iron(II) permease, was cloned, and a mutant was generated by allelic exchange. In addition, an S. typhimurium tonB mutant was constructed. Together these two mutations inactivate all known iron uptake systems of S. typhimurium. We examined the abilities of these mutants to grow in vitro and in different compartments of the host. Mutants in feoB were outcompeted by the wild type during mixed colonization of the mouse intestine, but the feoB mutation did not attenuate S. typhimurium for oral or intraperitoneal infection of mice. The tonB mutation attenuated S. typhimurium for infection of mice by the intragastric route but not the intraperitoneal route, and the mutant was recovered in lower numbers from the Peyer's patches and mesenteric lymph nodes than the wild type. These results indicate that TonB-mediated iron uptake contributes to colonization of the Peyer's patches and mesenteric lymph nodes but not the liver and spleen of the mouse. The tonB feoB double mutant, given intraperitoneally, was able to infect the liver and spleen at wild-type doses, indicating that additional iron acquisition systems are used during growth at systemic sites of infection.

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