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Infect Immun. 2002 Aug;70(8):4389-98.

Characterization of pit, a Streptococcus pneumoniae iron uptake ABC transporter.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection, Department of Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom. jerry.brown@ic.ac.uk

Erratum in

  • Infect Immun. 2004 Nov;72(11):6754.


Bacteria frequently have multiple mechanisms for acquiring iron, an essential micronutrient, from the environment. We have identified a four-gene Streptococcus pneumoniae operon, named pit, encoding proteins with similarity to components of a putative Brachyspira hyodysenteriae iron uptake ABC transporter, Bit. An S. pneumoniae strain containing a defined mutation in pit has impaired growth in medium containing the iron chelator ethylenediamine di-o-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, reduced sensitivity to the iron-dependent antibiotic streptonigrin, and impaired virulence in a mouse model of S. pneumoniae systemic infection. Furthermore, addition of a mutation in pit to a strain containing mutations in the two previously described S. pneumoniae iron uptake ABC transporters, piu and pia, resulted in a strain with impaired growth in two types of iron-deficient medium, a high degree of resistance to streptonigrin, and a reduced rate of iron uptake. Comparison of the susceptibilities to streptonigrin of the individual pit, piu, and pia mutant strains and comparison of the growth in iron-deficient medium and virulence of single and double mutant strains suggest that pia is the dominant iron transporter during in vitro and in vivo growth.

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