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Int J Med Microbiol. 2006 Dec;296(8):513-20. Epub 2006 Sep 27.

Environmental factors influence the production of enterobactin, salmochelin, aerobactin, and yersiniabactin in Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie, Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


The probiotic Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917 produces four siderophores: the catecholates enterobactin and salmochelin, the hydroxamate aerobactin, and the mixed-type siderophore yersiniabactin. We studied the influence of pH, temperature, and carbon source on the production of these four siderophores. Yersiniabactin and salmochelin were maximally produced under neutral to alkaline conditions (pH 7.0 and 7.6, respectively), whereas aerobactin was maximally produced at a more acidic pH (pH 5.6), which agrees with the slightly higher complex stability of hydroxamates at acidic pH values compared to the catecholates. Under nearly all conditions studied, catecholate siderophore production was higher with glycerol than with glucose as the carbon source. Yersiniabactin production was also higher with glycerol as the carbon source at pH 7.0. At 42 degrees C, strain Nissle 1917 grew poorly or not at all because of the iron-limiting conditions. In a competition experiment between wild-type strain Nissle 1917 and a mutant of this strain with a deletion in the yersiniabactin operon, the wild-type overgrew the mutant at pH 7.0 and 7.6 and not at pH 5.6. These results agree with yersiniabactin production being of greater advantage at neutral and slightly alkaline pH values. The production of four siderophores may help the probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917 to compete with other E. coli strains in the colon. The probiotic strain Nissle 1917 used in our experiments has many characteristics in common with uropathogenic E. coli and other pathogenic strains which also secrete these siderophores. Uropathogenic E. coli strains may need the multitude of siderophores to adapt to the pH of urine, which varies between pH 4.6 and 8.0.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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