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J Bacteriol. 2005 Jan;187(2):422-33.

Analysis of a DtxR-regulated iron transport and siderophore biosynthesis gene cluster in Corynebacterium diphtheriae.

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Laboratory of Bacterial Toxins, Division of Bacterial, Parasitic and Allergenic Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


This report describes a genetic locus associated with siderophore biosynthesis and transport in Corynebacterium diphtheriae. A BLAST search of the C. diphtheriae genome identified a seven-gene cluster that included four genes, designated ciuA, ciuB, ciuC, and ciuD, whose predicted products are related to ABC-type iron transporters. Downstream from ciuD is the ciuE gene, whose predicted product is similar to the aerobactin biosynthetic enzymes IucA and IucC. The CiuE protein, which has a predicted mass of 121,582 Da and is approximately twice the size of either IucC or IucA, is homologous to each of these proteins in both its N- and C-terminal regions. C. diphtheriae ciuE deletion mutants exhibited a defect in siderophore production, iron uptake, and growth in low-iron medium. Mutations in the ciuA gene, whose predicted product is a lipoprotein component of an iron transport system, resulted in a severe defect in iron uptake and reduced ability to use the C. diphtheriae siderophore as an iron source. Site-directed mutations in irp6A, a gene previously reported to be associated with siderophore transport, had no effect on iron uptake or the utilization of the C. diphtheriae siderophore as an iron source. Transcriptional analysis demonstrated that expression of ciuA and ciuE is DtxR and iron regulated, and DNase I protection experiments confirmed the presence of DtxR binding sites upstream from each of these genes. Thus, this iron- and DtxR-regulated gene cluster is involved in the synthesis and transport of the C. diphtheriae siderophore.

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