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J Bacteriol. 1990 Dec;172(12):6991-6.

Enterobactin-mediated iron transport in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


A pyoverdine-deficient strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was unable to grow in an iron-deficient minimal medium in the presence of the nonmetabolizable iron chelator ethylene diamine-di(omega-hydroxyphenol acetic acid) (EDDHA), although addition of enterobactin to EDDHA-containing minimal media did restore growth of the pyoverdine-deficient P. aeruginosa. Consistent with the apparent ability of enterobactin to provide iron to P. aeruginosa, enterobactin-dependent 55Fe3+ uptake was observed in cells of P. aeruginosa previously grown in an iron-deficient medium containing enterobactin (or enterobactin-containing Escherichia coli culture supernatant). This uptake was energy dependent, was observable at low concentrations (60 nM) of FeCl3, and was absent in cells cultured without enterobactin. A novel protein with a molecular weight of approximately 80,000 was identified in the outer membranes of cells grown in iron-deficient minimal medium containing enterobactin, concomitant with the induction of enterobactin-dependent iron uptake. A Tn501 insertion mutant lacking this protein was isolated and shown to be deficient in enterobactin-mediated iron transport at 60 nM FeCl3, although it still exhibited enterobactin-dependent growth in iron-deficient medium containing EDDHA. It was subsequently observed that the mutant was, however, capable of enterobactin-mediated iron transport at much higher concentrations (600 nM) of FeCl3. Indeed, enterobactin-dependent iron uptake at this concentration of iron was observed in both the mutant and parent strains irrespective of whether they had been cultured in the presence of enterobactin. Apparently, at least two uptake systems for ferrienterobactin exist in P. aeruginosa: one of higher affinity which is specifically inducible by enterobactin under iron-limiting conditions and the second, of lower affinity, which is also inducible under iron-limiting conditions but is independent of enterobactin for induction.

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