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J Bacteriol. Jul 1992; 174(13): 4317–4323.
PMCID: PMC206215

Effect of Salmonella typhimurium ferric uptake regulator (fur) mutations on iron- and pH-regulated protein synthesis.


Fur is an important regulatory protein known to function in the presence of iron as a repressor of iron-controlled genes. It was recently discovered that Fur is also essential to Salmonella typhimurium for mounting an adaptive acid tolerance response (J. W. Foster, J. Bacteriol 173:6896-6902, 1991). Because little is known about the effect of Fur on the physiology of this enteric pathogen, a systematic two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) analysis was conducted to identify proteins whose synthesis is linked to iron levels. Mutations in the fur locus were identified and used to classify which proteins are controlled by Fur. Thirty-six proteins were overtly affected by iron availability, most of which were clearly under the control of Fur. Although most of the Fur-dependent proteins were under negative control, a significant portion (15 of 34) appeared to be under a form of positive control. Nine of the positively controlled proteins required Fur and iron for expression. However, Fur lacking iron was also required for the induction of six gene products. Surprisingly, not all iron-regulated proteins were controlled by Fur and not all Fur-dependent proteins were obviously regulated by iron status. Because fur mutants fail to mount an effective acid tolerance response, we made a comparative two-dimensional PAGE analysis of 100 total acid- and iron-regulated gene products. Production of most of these proteins was regulated by only one of the two stresses, yet a clear subset of seven genes were influenced by both acid and iron and were also controlled by fur. These proteins were also members of the acid tolerance response modulon. Consistent with the fur effect on pH-regulated protein synthesis, fur mutants lacked the inducible pH homeostasis system associated with the acid tolerance response. The results provide further evidence that Fur has an extensive impact on gene expression and cellular physiology and suggest an explanation for the acid-sensitive nature of fur mutants.

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