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Eur J Biochem. 1981 Jul;117(2):431-7.

Citrate-dependent iron transport system in Escherichia coli K-12.


Induction of the citrate-dependent iron transport system of Escherichia coli K-12 required 0.1 mM citrate and 0.1 micrometer iron in the growth medium. Five--ten-times more iron than citrate was taken up into the cells which suggests that citrate was largely excluded from the transport. Fluorocitrate and phosphocitrate induced the citrate-dependent iron transport system although they supported iron uptake only very poorly. An outer membrane protein (FecA), belonging to the transport system, was induced in fecB mutants which were devoid of citrate-dependent iron transport. The intracellular citrate and iron concentrations were 10--100-times higher than the external concentrations required for induction of the transport system. It is concluded that only exogenous ferric citrate induced the transport system, and that citrate did not have to enter the cytoplasm. The Tn10 transposon, conferring tetracycline resistance, was inserted near the fec gene region which controls the expression of the citrate-dependent iron transport system. The determination of the cotransduction frequencies of Tn10 with the fecA and fecB markers suggested the gene order fecA fecB Tn10.

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