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J Bacteriol. Jul 1996; 178(14): 3996–4003.
PMCID: PMC178152

Ferric uptake regulator (Fur) mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa demonstrate defective siderophore-mediated iron uptake, altered aerobic growth, and decreased superoxide dismutase and catalase activities.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is considered a strict aerobe that possesses several enzymes important in the disposal of toxic oxygen reduction products including iron- and manganese-cofactored superoxide dismutase and catalase. At present, the nature of the regulation of these enzymes in P. aeruginosa Is not understood. To address these issues, we used two mutants called A4 and C6 which express altered Fur (named for ferric uptake regulation) proteins and constitutively produce the siderophores pyochelin and pyoverdin. Both mutants required a significant lag phase prior to log-phase aerobic growth, but this lag was not as apparent when the organisms were grown under microaerobic conditions. The addition of iron salts to mutant A4 and, to a greater extent, C6 cultures allowed for an increased growth rate under both conditions relative to that of bacteria without added iron. Increased manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) and decreased catalase activities were also apparent in the mutants, although the second catalase, KatB, was detected in cell extracts of each fur mutant. Iron deprivation by the addition of the iron chelator 2,2'-dipyridyl to wild-type bacteria produced an increase in Mn-SOD activity and a decrease in total catalase activity, similar to the fur mutant phenotype. Purified wild-type Fur bound more avidly than mutant Fur to a PCR product containing two palindromic 19-bp "iron box" regions controlling expression of an operon containing the sodA gene that encodes Mn-SOD. All mutants were defective in both ferripyochelin- and ferripyoverdin-mediated iron uptake. Two mutants of strain PAO1, defective in pyoverdin but not pyochelin biosynthesis, produced increased Mn-SOD activity. Sensitivity to both the redox-cycling agent paraquat and hydrogen peroxide was greater in each mutant than in the wild-type strain. In summary, the results indicate that mutations in the P. aeruginosa fur locus affect aerobic growth and SOD and catalase activities in P. aeruginosa. We postulate that reduced siderophore-mediated iron uptake, especially that by pyoverdin, may be one possible mechanism contributing to such effect.

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Selected References

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