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Infect Immun. 1996 Aug;64(8):3023-31.

Iron uptake and iron-repressible polypeptides in Yersinia pestis.

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Department of Microbiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1101, USA.


Pigmented (Pgm+) cells of Yersinia pestis are virulent, are sensitive to pesticin, adsorb exogenous hemin at 26 degrees C (Hms+), produce iron-repressible outer membrane proteins, and grow at 37 degrees C in iron-deficient media. These traits are lost upon spontaneous deletion of a chromosomal 102-kb pgm locus (Pgm-). Here we demonstrate that an Hms+ but pesticin-resistant (Pst(r)) mutant acquired a 5-bp deletion in the pesticin receptor gene (psn) encoding IrpB to IrpD. Growth and assimilation of iron by Pgm- and Hms+ Pst(r) mutants were markedly inhibited by ferrous chelators at 37 degrees C; inhibition by ferric and ferrous chelators was less effective at 26 degrees C. Iron-deficient growth at 26 degrees C induced iron-regulated outer membrane proteins of 34, 28.5, and 22.5 kDa and periplasmic polypeptides of 33.5 and 30 kDa. These findings provide a basis for understanding the psn-driven system of iron uptake, indicate the existence of at least one additional 26 degrees C-dependent iron assimilation system, and define over 30 iron-repressible proteins in Y. pestis.

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