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J Supramol Struct. 1976;5(1):37-58.

Functional organization of the outer membrane of escherichia coli: phage and colicin receptors as components of iron uptake systems.


The functional interaction of outer membrane proteins of E. coli can be studied using phage and colicin receptors which are essential components of penetration systems. The uptake of ferric iron in the form of the ferrichrome complex requires the ton A and ton B functions in the outer membrane of E. coli. The ton A gene product is the receptor protein for phage T5 and is required together with the ton B function by the phages T1 and ΓΈ80 to infect cells and by colicin M and the antibiotic albomycin, a structural analogue of ferrichrome, to kill cells. The ton B function is necessary for the uptake of ferric iron complexed by citrate. Iron complexed by enterochelin is only transported in the presence of the ton B and feu functions. Cells which have lost the feu function are resistant to the colicins B, I or V while ton B mutants are resistant to all 3 colicins. The interaction of the ton A, ton B, and feu functions apparently permits quite different "substrates" to overcome the permeability barrier of the outer membrane. It was shown for ferrichrome dependent iron uptake that the complexing agent was not altered and could be used repeatedly. Only very low amounts of 3H-labeled ferrichrome were found in the cell. It is possible that the iron is mobilized in the membrane and that desferri-ferrichrome is released into the medium without having entered the cytoplasm. Growth on ferrichrome as the sole iron source was used to select revertants of T5 resistant ton A mutants. All revertants exhibited wild-type properties with the exception of partial revertants. In these 4 strains, as in the ton A mutants, the ton A protein was not detectable by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoreses of outer membranes. Albomycin resistant mutants were selected and shown to fall into 5 categories: 1) ton A; 2) ton B mutants; 3) mutants with no iron transport defects and normal ton A/ton B functions, which might be target site mutants; 4) mutants which were deficient in ferrichrome-mediated iron uptake but had normal ton A/ton B functions. We tentatively consider that the defect might be located in the active transport system of the cytoplasmic membrane; 5) a variety of mutants with the following general properties: most of them were resistant to colicin M, transported iron poorly, and, like ton B mutants, contained additional proteins in the outer membrane. The outer membrane protein patterns of wild-type and ton B mutant strains were compared by slab gel electrophoresis in an attempt to identify a ton B protein. It was observed that under most growth conditions, ton B mutants overproduced 3 proteins of molecular weights 74,000-83,000. In extracted, iron-deficient medium, both the wild-type and ton B mutant strains had similar large amounts of these proteins in their outer membranes. The appearance of these proteins was suppressed by excess iron in both wild-type and mutant. From this evidence it is apparent that the proteins appear as a response to low intracellular iron rather than being controlled by the ton B gene...

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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