The two TonB systems in Vibrio cholerae were found to have unique as well as common functions. Both systems can mediate transport of haemin and the siderophores vibriobactin and ferrichrome. However, TonB1 specifically mediates utilization of the siderophore schizokinen, whereas TonB2 is required for utilization of enterobactin by V. cholerae. Although either TonB system was sufficient for the use of haemin as an iron source, in vitro competition between TonB1 and TonB2 system mutants indicates a preferential role for TonB1 in haemin utilization. This was most pronounced in conditions of high osmolarity, in which TonB1 system mutants were unable to grow with haemin as the sole iron source. Sequence analysis predicted that the two TonB proteins differ in both amino acid sequence and protein size. An internal deletion in TonB1 was constructed in order to generate a protein of approximately the same size as TonB2. A strain expressing the TonB1 deletion protein, and no other TonB, used haemin as the iron source in low-osmolarity medium, but could not use haemin in high osmolarity. This is the same phenotype as a strain expressing only TonB2 and suggests that TonB1, but not TonB2, can span the increased periplasmic space in high osmolarity and thus mediate haemin transport. Mouse colonization assays indicated a role for both TonB systems, and mutations in either system resulted in reduced ability to compete with the wild type in vivo.
Vibrio cholerae synthesizes the catechol siderophore vibriobactin. In this report, we present the complete map of a vibriobactin gene region containing two previously unreported vibriobactin biosynthetic genes. vibD encodes a phosphopantetheinyl transferase, and vibH encodes a novel nonribosomal peptide synthase. Both VibD and VibH are required for vibriobactin biosynthesis.
Pathogenesis of Shigella flexneri is dependent on the ability of the bacterium to invade and spread within epithelial cells. In this study, we identified dksA as a gene necessary for intercellular spread in, but not invasion of, cultured cells. The S. flexneri dksA mutant exhibited sensitivity to acid and oxidative stress, in part due to an effect of DksA on production of RpoS. However, an S. flexneri rpoS mutant formed plaques on tissue culture monolayers, thus excluding DksA regulation of RpoS as the mechanism responsible for the inability of the dksA mutant to spread intercellularly. Intracellular analysis of the dksA mutant indicates that it survived and divided within the Henle cell cytoplasm, but the dksA mutant cells were elongated, and some exhibited filamentation in the intracellular environment. Some of the S. flexneri dksA mutant cells showed aberrant localization of virulence protein IcsA, which may inhibit spread between epithelial cells.
Vibrio cholerae has multiple iron transport systems, one of which involves haem uptake through the outer membrane receptor HutA. A hutA mutant had only a slight defect in growth using haemin as the iron source, and we show here that V. cholerae encodes two additional TonB-dependent haem receptors, HutR and HasR. HutR has significant homology to HutA as well as to other outer membrane haem receptors. Membrane fractionation confirmed that HutR is present in the outer membrane. The hutR gene was co-transcribed with the upstream gene ptrB, and expression from the ptrB promoter was negatively regulated by iron. A hutA, hutR mutant was significantly impaired, but not completely defective, in the ability to use haemin as the sole iron source. HasR is most similar to the haemophore-utilizing haem receptors from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens. A mutant defective in all three haem receptors was unable to use haemin as an iron source. HutA and HutR functioned with either V. cholerae TonB1 or TonB2, but haemin transport through either receptor was more efficient in strains carrying the tonB1 system genes. In contrast, haemin uptake through HasR was TonB2 dependent. Efficient utilization of haemoglobin as an iron source required HutA and TonB1. The triple haem receptor mutant exhibited no defect in its ability to compete with its Vib- parental strain in an infant mouse model of infection, indicating that additional iron sources are present in vivo. V. cholerae used haem derived from marine invertebrate haemoglobins, suggesting that haem may be available to V. cholerae growing in the marine environment.
In Shigella boydii 0-1392, genes encoding the synthesis and transport of the hydroxamate siderophore aerobactin are located within a 21-kb iron transport island between lysU and the pheU tRNA gene. DNA sequence analysis of the S. boydii 0-1392 island, designated SHI-3 for Shigella island 3, revealed a conserved aerobactin operon associated with a P4 prophage-like integrase gene and numerous insertion sequences (IS). SHI-3 is present at the pheU tRNA locus in some S. boydii isolates but not in others. The map locations of the aerobactin genes vary among closely related species. The association of the aerobactin operon with phage genes and mobile elements and its presence at different locations within the genomes of enteric pathogens suggest that these virulence-enhancing genes may have been acquired by bacteriophage integration or IS element-mediated transposition. An S. boydii aerobactin synthesis mutant, 0-1392 iucB, was constructed and was similar to the wild type in tissue culture assays of invasion and intercellular spread.
The uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain CFT073 has multiple iron acquisition systems, including heme and siderophore transporters. A tonB mutant derivative of CFT073 failed to use heme as an iron source or to utilize the siderophores enterobactin and aerobactin, indicating that transport of these compounds in CFT073 is TonB dependent. The TonB(-) derivative showed reduced virulence in a mouse model of urinary tract infection. Virulence was restored when the tonB gene was introduced on a plasmid. To determine the importance of the individual TonB-dependent iron transport systems during urinary tract infections, mutants defective in each of the CFT073 high-affinity iron transport systems were constructed and tested in the mouse model. Mouse virulence assays indicated that mutants defective in a single iron transport system were able to infect the kidney when inoculated as a pure culture but were unable to efficiently compete with the wild-type strain in mixed infections. These results indicate a role for TonB-dependent systems in the virulence of uropathogenic E. coli strains.