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Eukaryot Cell. 2006 Oct;5(10):1596-603.

The intracellular siderophore ferricrocin is involved in iron storage, oxidative-stress resistance, germination, and sexual development in Aspergillus nidulans.

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Division of Molecular Biology/Biocenter, Innsbruck Medical University, Fritz-Pregl-Str. 3, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Iron is required by most organisms, but an excess of this metal is potentially toxic. Consequently, uptake and intracellular storage of iron are tightly controlled. The filamentous fungus A. nidulans lacks the iron storage compound ferritin but possesses an intracellular siderophore, which is accumulated in a highly regulated manner as iron-free desferri-ferricrocin or iron-containing ferricrocin via transcriptional regulation of the nonribosomal peptide synthetase SidC. Biosynthesis of desferri-ferricrocin was low during iron-replete conditions but up-regulated by both iron starvation and intracellular iron excess, the latter caused by either a shift from iron-depleted to high-iron conditions or deregulation of iron uptake. Consequently, ferricrocin constituted only about 5% of the total iron content under iron-replete conditions but up to 64% during conditions of intracellular excess. In contrast, during iron starvation, desferri-ferricrocin was accumulated, which appears to represent a proactive strategy to prevent iron toxicity. Accumulation of the intracellular siderophore was also up-regulated by oxidative stress, which underscores the intertwining of iron metabolism and oxidative stress. Lack of the intracellular siderophore causes pleiotropic effects, as SidC deficiency results in (i) less-efficient utilization of iron, indicated by reduced growth under iron-depleted conditions and a higher iron demand under iron-replete conditions, (ii) delayed germination under iron-depleted conditions, (iii) increased sensitivity of conidia to oxidative stress, and (iv) elimination of cleistothecia formation in homothallic conditions.

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