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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2002 Feb 19;208(1):41-5.

Identification and role in virulence of putative iron acquisition genes from Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis.

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Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, University of Arizona, 1117 E. Lowell Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Four genes, fagA, B, C and D, encoding products with 32-47% identity to proteins involved in bacterial iron uptake systems, were identified immediately downstream of the Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis phospholipase D gene. beta-Galactosidase assays on a C. pseudotuberculosis strain carrying a fagA-lacZ fusion indicated that the putative fagABC operon was poorly expressed in iron-rich media. However, similar experiments in iron-limited media resulted in an approximately three-fold increase in beta-galactosidase activity, suggesting that this operon is regulated by iron in vitro. Although no defect in iron utilization could be determined for a C. pseudotuberculosis fagB(C) mutant in vitro, this mutant showed reduced virulence compared to wild-type in a goat model of caseous lymphadenitis. Thus, expression of the fag genes in the host appears to contribute to virulence.

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