Vibrio cholerae secretes the catechol siderophore vibriobactin in response to iron limitation. Vibriobactin is structurally similar to enterobactin, the siderophore produced by Escherichia coli, and both organisms produce 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHBA) as an intermediate in siderophore biosynthesis. To isolate and characterize V. cholerae genes involved in vibriobactin biosynthesis, we constructed a genomic cosmid bank of V. cholerae DNA and isolated clones that complemented mutations in E. coli enterobactin biosynthesis genes. V. cholerae homologs of entA, entB, entC, entD, and entE were identified on overlapping cosmid clones. Our data indicate that the vibriobactin genes are clustered, like the E. coli enterobactin genes, but the organization of the genes within these clusters is different. In this paper, we present the organization and sequences of genes involved in the synthesis and activation of DHBA. In addition, a V. cholerae strain with a chromosomal mutation in vibA was constructed by marker exchange. This strain was unable to produce vibriobactin or DHBA, confirming that in V. cholerae VibA catalyzes an early step in vibriobactin biosynthesis.
This study shows that both length and distribution of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) are important for Shigella flexneri invasion and virulence. Mutants were generated in the chromosomal LPS synthesis genes rfa, rfb, and rol, and in a plasmid-encoded O-antigen chain-length regulator, cld(pHS-2). LPS analysis showed that mutations in rfb genes and in a candidate rfaL gene either eliminated the entire O-antigen side chains or produced chains of greatly reduced length. Mutation in a previously unidentified gene, rfaX, affected the LPS core region and resulted in reduced amounts of O-antigen. Mutants defective in cld(pHS-2) or rol had different distributions of O-antigen chain lengths. The results of tissue-culture cell invasion and plaque assays, the Serény test, and serum-sensitivity assay suggested roles for the different LPS synthesis genes in bacterial survival and virulence; rfaL, rfaX and rfb loci are required for serum resistance and intercellular spread, but not for invasion; cld(pHS-2) is required for resistance to serum killing and for full inflammation in the Serény test, but not for invasion or intercellular spread, while rol is required for normal invasiveness and plaque formation, but not for serum resistance. Thus, O-antigen synthesis and chain-length regulation genes encoded on both the chromosome and the small plasmid pHS-2 play important roles in S. flexneri invasion and virulence.
The expression of the Shigella flexneri chromosomal aerobactin genes during growth of the bacterium within tissue culture cells was assayed. During intracellular growth, aerobactin promoter activity was repressed relative to the level observed in bacteria grown extracellularly, even when the bacteria had been starved for iron prior to infection. Similarly, the level of one of the proteins encoded by this operon, the aerobactin outer membrane receptor, Iut, was reduced in the intracellular environment. These studies indicate that the aerobactin system is not highly expressed by bacteria within host cells, suggesting that siderophore-independent iron acquisition systems can provide essential iron during intracellular multiplication.
In this study, we identified the iron-transport systems of Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain EDL933. This strain synthesized and transported enterobactin and had a ferric citrate transport system but lacked the ability to produce or use aerobactin. It used haem and haemoglobin, but not transferrin or lactoferrin, as iron sources. We cloned the gene encoding an iron-regulated haem-transport protein and showed that this E. coli haem-utilization gene (chuA) encoded a 69 kDa outer membrane protein that was synthesized in response to iron limitation. Expression of this protein in a laboratory strain of E. coli was sufficient for utilization of haem or haemoglobin as iron sources. Mutation of the chromosomal chuA and tonB genes in E. coli O157:H7 demonstrated that the utilization of haemin and haemoglobin was ChuA- and TonB-dependent. Nucleotide sequence analysis of chuA revealed features characteristic of TonB-dependent, Fur-regulated, outer membrane iron-transport proteins. It was highly homologous to the shuA gene of Shigella dysenteriae and less closely related to hemR of Yersinia enterocolitica and hmuR of Yersinia pestis. A conserved Fur box was identified upstream of the chuA gene, and regulation by Fur was confirmed.
shuA encodes a 70-kDa outer membrane heme receptor in Shigella dysenteriae. Analysis of the shuA DNA sequence indicates that this gene encodes a protein with homology to TonB-dependent receptors of gram-negative bacteria. Transport of heme by the ShuA protein requires TonB and its accessory proteins ExbB and ExbD. The shuA DNA sequence contains a putative Fur box overlapping the -10 region of a potential shuA promoter, and the expression of shuA is repressed by exogenous iron or hemin in a Fur-dependent manner, although hemin repressed expression to a lesser extent than iron salts. Disruption of this open reading frame on the S. dysenteriae chromosome by marker exchange yielded a strain that failed to use heme as an iron source, indicating that shuA is essential for heme transport in S. dysenteriae. However, shuA is not essential for invasion or multiplication within cultured Henle cells; the shuA mutant invaded and produced normal plaques in confluent cell monolayers.