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J Bacteriol. Jun 1992; 174(11): 3729–3738.
PMCID: PMC206063

Cloning, sequencing, and transcriptional regulation of viuA, the gene encoding the ferric vibriobactin receptor of Vibrio cholerae.

Abstract

A 74-kDa iron-regulated outer membrane protein of Vibrio cholerae acts as the receptor for the V. cholerae iron-siderophore complex, ferric vibriobactin. MBG14, a mutant of V. cholerae 0395 containing a TnphoA insertion in a gene designated viuA, lacks this 74-kDa outer membrane protein and is unable to bind or utilize exogenous ferric vibriobactin. Introduction of a plasmid containing the complete viuA coding sequence and 513 bp of upstream DNA into MBG14 restored ferric vibriobactin utilization to the mutant. The DNA insert in this plasmid was sequenced, revealing a single open reading frame of 2,061 bp, encoding a deduced protein of 687 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 76,417 Da and a predicted initial signal sequence of 37 amino acids. ViuA showed only weak homology to two iron-regulated outer membrane proteins in Escherichia coli, IutA and FecA. Construction of viuA::TnphoA gene fusions allowed study of the regulation of viuA expression by iron. This regulation in E. coli was dependent on the fur gene. Northern (RNA) blot analysis of RNA from wild-type V. cholerae grown in high- and low-iron media revealed a monocistronic viuA message that was negatively regulated by iron at the transcriptional level. Primer extension analysis identified a single transcriptional start site, located 243 bp above the translational start site. The promoter region of viuA contained two interrupted dyad symmetric nucleotide sequences, overlapping the -10 and -35 boxes, each similar to the E. coli Fur binding consensus sequence. Another iron-regulated gene in V. cholerae that is negatively regulated by fur, irgA, requires a positive transcriptional activator (irgB) for expression. However, a strain of V. cholerae mutant in irgB was unaffected in viuA expression. These studies suggest that there is conserved, global coordinate iron regulation in V. cholerae by fur; additional regulatory factors, superimposed upon the fur system, may provide more precise control of individual iron-regulated genes.

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