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J Bacteriol. 1997 Nov; 179(22): 7055–7062.
PMCID: PMC179647

Cloning of a Vibrio cholerae vibriobactin gene cluster: identification of genes required for early steps in siderophore biosynthesis.


Vibrio cholerae secretes the catechol siderophore vibriobactin in response to iron limitation. Vibriobactin is structurally similar to enterobactin, the siderophore produced by Escherichia coli, and both organisms produce 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHBA) as an intermediate in siderophore biosynthesis. To isolate and characterize V. cholerae genes involved in vibriobactin biosynthesis, we constructed a genomic cosmid bank of V. cholerae DNA and isolated clones that complemented mutations in E. coli enterobactin biosynthesis genes. V. cholerae homologs of entA, entB, entC, entD, and entE were identified on overlapping cosmid clones. Our data indicate that the vibriobactin genes are clustered, like the E. coli enterobactin genes, but the organization of the genes within these clusters is different. In this paper, we present the organization and sequences of genes involved in the synthesis and activation of DHBA. In addition, a V. cholerae strain with a chromosomal mutation in vibA was constructed by marker exchange. This strain was unable to produce vibriobactin or DHBA, confirming that in V. cholerae VibA catalyzes an early step in vibriobactin biosynthesis.

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