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BMC Microbiol. 2008 Jan 14;8:7. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-8-7.

Genomic, genetic and structural analysis of pyoverdine-mediated iron acquisition in the plant growth-promoting bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25.

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Rd, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK. christina.moon@agresearch.co.nz



Pyoverdines (PVDs) are high affinity siderophores, for which the molecular mechanisms of biosynthesis, uptake and regulation have been extensively studied in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. However, the extent to which this regulatory model applies to other pseudomonads is unknown. Here, we describe the results of a genomic, genetic and structural analysis of pyoverdine-mediated iron uptake by the plant growth-promoting bacterium P. fluorescens SBW25.


In silico analysis of the complete, but un-annotated, SBW25 genome sequence identified 31 genes putatively involved in PVD biosynthesis, transport or regulation, which are distributed across seven different regions of the genome. PVD gene iron-responsiveness was tested using 'lacZ fusions to five PVD loci, representative of structural and regulatory genes. Transcription of all fusions increased in response to iron starvation. In silico analyses suggested that regulation of fpvR (which is predicted to encode a cytoplasmic membrane-spanning anti-sigma factor) may be unique. Transcriptional assays using gene expression constructs showed that fpvR is positively regulated by FpvI (an extracytoplasmic family (ECF) sigma factor), and not directly by the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) as for PAO1. Deletion of pvdL, encoding a predicted non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) involved in PVD chromophore biosynthesis confirmed the necessity of PvdL for PVD production and for normal growth in iron-limited media. Structural analysis of the SBW25 PVD shows a partly cyclic seven residue peptide backbone, identical to that of P. fluorescens ATCC13525. At least 24 putative siderophore receptor genes are present in the SBW25 genome enabling the bacterium to utilize 19 structurally distinct PVDs from 25 different Pseudomonas isolates.


The genome of P. fluorescens SBW25 contains an extensively dispersed set of PVD genes in comparison to other sequenced Pseudomonas strains. The PAO1 PVD regulatory model, which involves a branched Fpv signaling pathway, is generally conserved in SBW25, however there is a significant difference in fpvR regulation. SBW25 produces PVD with a partly cyclic seven amino acid residue backbone, and is able to utilize a wide variety of exogenous PVDs.

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