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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Apr 30, 1996; 93(9): 4409–4414.

Gene repression by the ferric uptake regulator in Pseudomonas aeruginosa: cycle selection of iron-regulated genes.


The expression of at least 24 distinct genes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 is under direct control of the "ferric uptake regulator" (Fur). Novel targets of the Fur protein were isolated in a powerful SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment)-like cycle selection consisting of in vitro DNA-Fur interaction, binding to anti-Fur antibody, purification on protein G, and PCR amplification. DNA fragments obtained after at least three exponential enrichment cycles were cloned and subjected to DNA mobility-shift assays and DNase I footprint analyses to verify the specific interaction with the Fur protein in vitro. Iron-dependent expression of the corresponding genes in vivo was monitored by RNase protection analysis. In total, 20 different DNA fragments were identified which represent actual Pseudomonas iron-regulated genes (PIGs). While four PIGs are identical to already known genes (pfeR, pvdS, tonB, and fumC, respectively), 16 PIGs represent previously unknown genes. Homology studies of the putative proteins encoded by the PIGs allowed us to speculate about their possible function. Two PIG products were highly similar to siderophore receptors from various species, and three PIG products were significantly homologous to alternative sigma factors. Furthermore, homologs of the Escherichia coli ORF1-tolQ, nuoA, stringent starvation protein Ssp, and of a two-component regulatory system similar to the Pseudomonas syringae LemA sensor kinase were identified. The putative gene products of seven additional PIGs did not show significant homologies to any known proteins. The PIGs were mapped on the P.aeruginosa chromosome. Their possible role in iron metabolism and virulence of P. aeruginosa is discussed.

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