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J Bacteriol. 2003 Dec;185(23):6938-49.

Identification and characterization of genes required for biosynthesis and transport of the siderophore vibrioferrin in Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, Okayama 700-8530, Japan.


In response to low iron availability, Vibrio parahaemolyticus synthesizes and secretes a polyhydroxycarboxylate-type siderophore vibrioferrin which is composed of 1 mol each of 2-ketoglutaric acid, L-alanine, ethanolamine, and citric acid. We have previously reported the cloning and characterization of the pvuA gene, which encodes the 78-kDa outer membrane receptor protein for ferric vibrioferrin. In this study, nine genes involved in the biosynthesis and transport of vibrioferrin have been identified in the genomic regions surrounding the pvuA gene. The genes were sequenced, and gene disruptants were constructed by insertion mutation for phenotype analysis. Five of the genes, named pvsABCDE, constitute an operon that is expressed under iron-limiting conditions. Homology searches of their predicted protein products suggested that the four genes pvsABDE are implicated in the biosynthesis of the siderophore. Another gene in the same operon, pvsC, encodes a putative exporter that is homologous to members of the major facilitator superfamily of multidrug efflux pumps. The remaining four genes, named pvuBCDE, encode proteins strongly homologous to Escherichia coli FecBCDE, respectively, which are components of the ATP-binding cassette transporter system for ferric dicitrate. Reverse transcriptase PCR analysis revealed that these transport genes are transcribed as a single mRNA with the upstream genes, psuA and pvuA. Phenotypic comparison between the wild-type strain and its targeted gene disruptants supported the biological functions for the respective operons that were expected on the basis of the homology search.

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