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Int J Med Microbiol. 2000 Mar;290(1):51-60.

Molecular characterization of a novel siderophore-independent iron transport system in Yersinia.

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Max-von-Pettenkofer-Institut für Hygiene und Medizinische Mikrobiologie der Universität München, Germany.


Enteropathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica can be divided into mouse lethal (biogroup 1 B serotypes O:8, O:13, O:20 and O:21) and mouse non-lethal (biogroups 2-4 serotypes O:3, O:5,27, O:9) strains. Mouse-lethality is associated with the presence of the high-pathogenicity island encoding the TonB-dependent ferric-yersiniabactin uptake system. The present study reports on a TonB-independent and non-siderophore yersiniae ferric uptake system, yfu. Genetic and functional characterization of the yfu determinant revealed high relationship to the periplasmic-binding-protein-dependent Serratia marcescens ferric uptake system sfu. The yfu locus is common to all Yersinia species pathogenic for humans. Gene targeting of the yfu locus has demonstrated its importance for ferric iron acquisition in vitro. However, yfu is not required for mouse virulence of Y. enterocolitica serotype O:8.

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