Vibrio cholerae uses the catechol siderophore vibriobactin for iron transport under iron-limiting conditions. We have identified genes for vibriobactin transport and mapped them within the vibriobactin biosynthetic gene cluster. Within this genetic region we have identified four genes, viuP, viuD, viuG and viuC, whose protein products have homology to the periplasmic binding protein, the two integral cytoplasmic membrane proteins, and the ATPase component, respectively, of other iron transport systems. The amino-terminal region of ViuP has homology to a lipoprotein signal sequence, and ViuP could be labeled with [(3)H]palmitic acid. This suggests that ViuP is a membrane lipoprotein. The ViuPDGC system transports both vibriobactin and enterobactin in Escherichia coli. In the same assay, the E. coli enterobactin transport system, FepBDGC, allowed the utilization of enterobactin but not vibriobactin. Although the entire viuPDGC system could complement mutations in fepB, fepD, fepG, or fepC, only viuC was able to independently complement the corresponding fep mutation. This indicates that these proteins usually function as a complex. V. cholerae strains carrying a mutation in viuP or in viuG were constructed by marker exchange. These mutations reduced, but did not completely eliminate, vibriobactin utilization. This suggests that V. cholerae contains genes in addition to viuPDGC that function in the transport of catechol siderophores.
Upon exposure to UV radiation, Shigella flexneri SA100 displayed survival and mutation frequencies comparable to those of Escherichia coli AB1157, which contains a functional UmuDC error-prone DNA repair system. Survival of SA100 after UV irradiation was associated with the presence of the 220-kb virulence plasmid, pVP. This plasmid encodes homologues of ImpA and ImpB, which comprise an error-prone DNA repair system encoded on plasmid TP110 that was initially identified in Salmonella typhimurium, and ImpC, encoded upstream of ImpA and ImpB. Although the impB gene was present in representatives of all four species of Shigella, not all isolates tested contained the gene. Shigella isolates that lacked impB were more sensitive to UV radiation than isolates that contained impB. The nucleotide sequence of a 2.4-kb DNA fragment containing the imp operon from S. flexneri SA100 pVP was 96% identical to the imp operon from the plasmid TP110. An SA100 derivative with a mutation in the impB gene had reduced survival following UV irradiation and less UV-induced mutagenesis relative to the parental strain. We also found that S. flexneri contained a chromosomally encoded umuDC operon; however, the umuDC promoter was not induced by exposure to UV radiation. This suggests that the imp operon but not the umuDC operon contributes to survival and induced mutagenesis in S. flexneri following exposure to UV radiation.
The ability of Shigella flexneri to multiply within colonic epithelial cells and spread to adjacent cells is essential for production of dysentery. Two S. flexneri chromosomal loci that are required for these processes were identified by screening a pool of TnphoA insertion mutants. These mutants were able to invade cultured epithelial cells but could not form wild-type plaques. Analysis of the nucleotide sequence indicated that the sites of TnphoA insertion were within two different regions that are almost identical to Escherichia coli K-12 chromosomal sequences of unknown functions. One region is located at 70 min on the E. coli chromosome, upstream of murZ, while the other is at 28 min, downstream of tonB. The mutant with the insertion at 70 min was named vpsC because it showed an altered pattern of virulence protein secretion. The vpsC mutant formed pinpoint-sized plaques, was defective in recovery from infected tissue culture cells, and was sensitive to lysis by the detergent sodium dodecyl sulfate. Recombinant plasmids carrying the S. flexneri vpsA, -B, and -C genes complemented all of the phenotypes of the vpsC mutant. A mutation in vpsA resulted in the same phenotype as the vpsC mutation, suggesting that these two genes are part of a virulence operon in S. flexneri. The mutant with the insertion at 28 min was interrupted in the same open reading frame as S. flexneri ispA. This ispA mutant could not form plaques and was defective in bacterial septation inside tissue culture cells.
The ability to transport and use haemin as an iron source is frequently observed in clinical isolates of Shigella spp. and pathogenic Escherichia coli. We found that many of these haem-utilizing E. coli strains contain a gene that hybridizes at high stringency to the S. dysenteriae type 1 haem receptor gene, shuA. These shuA-positive strains belong to multiple phylogenetic groups and include clinical isolates from enteric, urinary tract and systemic infections. The distribution of shuA in these strains suggests horizontal transfer of the haem transport locus. Some haem-utilizing pathogenic E. coli strains did not hybridize with shuA, so at least one other haem transport system is present in this group. We also characterized the chromosomal region containing shuA in S. dysenteriae. The shuA gene is present in a discrete locus, designated the haem transport locus, containing eight open reading frames. Several of the proteins encoded in this locus participate with ShuA in haem transport, as a Salmonella typhimurium strain containing the entire haem transport locus used haem much more efficiently than the same strain containing only shuA. The haem transport locus is not present in E. coli K-12 strains, but the sequences flanking the haem transport locus in S. dysenteriae matched those at the 78.7 minute region of E. coli K-12. The junctions and flanking sequences in the shuA-positive pathogenic E. coli strains tested were nearly identical to those in S. dysenteriae, indicating that, in these strains, the haem transport locus has an organization similar to that in S. dysenteriae, and it is located in the same relative position on the chromosome.
Vibrio cholerae was found to have two sets of genes encoding TonB, ExbB and ExbD proteins. The first set (tonB1, exbB1, exbD1) was obtained by complementation of a V. cholerae tonB mutant. In the mutant, a plasmid containing these genes permitted transport via the known V. cholerae high-affinity iron transport systems, including uptake of haem, vibriobactin and ferrichrome. When chromosomal mutations in exbB1 or exbD1 were introduced into a wild-type V. cholerae background, no defect in iron transport was noted, indicating the existence of additional genes that can complement the defect in the wild-type background. Another region of the V. cholerae chromosome was cloned that encoded a second functional TonB/Exb system (tonB2, exbB2, exbD2). A chromosomal mutation in exbB2 also failed to exhibit a defect in iron transport, but a V. cholerae strain that had chromosomal mutations in both the exbB1 and exbB2 genes displayed a mutant phenotype similar to that of an Escherichia coli tonB mutant. The genes encoding TonB1, ExbB1, ExbD1 were part of an operon that included three haem transport genes (hutBCD), and all six genes appeared to be expressed from a single Fur-regulated promoter upstream of tonB1. A plasmid containing all six genes permitted utilization of haem by an E. coli strain expressing the V. cholerae haem receptor, HutA. Analysis of the hut genes indicated that hutBCD, which are predicted to encode a periplasmic binding protein (HutB) and cytoplasmic membrane permease (HutC and HutD), were required to reconstitute the V. cholerae haem transport system in E. coli. In V. cholerae, the presence of hutBCD stimulated growth when haemin was the iron source, but these genes were not essential for haemin utilization in V. cholerae.
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.
Shigella species can use heme as the sole source of iron. In this work, the heme utilization locus of Shigella dysenteriae was cloned and characterized. A cosmid bank of S. dysenteriae serotype 1 DNA was constructed in an Escherichia coli siderophore synthesis mutant incapable of heme transport. A recombinant clone, pSHU12, carrying the heme utilization system of S. dysenteriae was isolated by screening on iron-poor medium supplemented with hemin. Transposon insertional mutagenesis and subcloning identified the region of DNA in pSHU12 responsible for the phenotype of heme utilization. Minicell analysis indicated that a 70-kDa protein encoded by this region was sufficient to allow heme utilization in E. coli. Synthesis of this protein, designated Shu (Shigella heme uptake), was induced by iron limitation. The 70-kDa protein is located in the outer membrane and binds heme, suggesting it is the S. dysenteriae heme receptor. Heme iron uptake was found to be TonB dependent in E. coli. Transformation of an E. coli hemA mutant with the heme utilization subclone, pSHU262, showed that heme could serve as a source of porphyrin as well as iron, indicating that the entire heme molecule is transported into the bacterial cell. DNA sequences homologous to shu were detected in strains of S. dysenteriae serotype 1 and E. coli O157:H7.
Growth of Shigella spp. in the presence of the bile salt deoxycholate or chenodeoxycholate enhanced the bacterial invasion of HeLa cells. Growth in the presence of other structurally similar bile salts or detergents had little or no effect. Deoxycholate-enhanced invasion was not observed when bacteria were exposed to deoxycholate at low temperatures or when chloramphenicol was added to the growth medium, indicating that bacterial growth and protein synthesis are required. Increased invasion is associated with the presence of an intact Shigella virulence plasmid and is correlated with increased secretion of a set of proteins, including the Ipa proteins, to the outer membrane and into the growth medium. The increased invasion induced by the bile salts appears to be due to increased adherence. The enhanced adherence was specific to Shigella spp., since the enteroinvasive Escherichia coli strains tested did not exhibit the effect in response to growth in bile salts.
The regulation of hutA, the Vibrio cholerae gene encoding a 77-kDa iron-regulated outer membrane protein required for heme iron utilization, was characterized, and the DNA sequence of the gene was determined. A hutA::Tn5 lac fusion generated previously (D. P. Henderson and S. M. Payne, Mol. Microbiol. 7:461-469, 1993) was transformed into Fur- and Fur+ strains of Escherichia coli and V. cholerae. The results of beta-galactosidase assays on the transformed strains demonstrated that transcription of hutA is regulated by the Fur repressor protein in E. coli and at least partially regulated by Fur in V. cholerae. Analysis of the DNA sequence of hutA indicated that a sequence homologous to the E. coli consensus Fur box was present in the promoter region of hutA. The amino acid sequence of HutA is homologous to those of several TonB-dependent outer member proteins. However, when the V. cholerae heme utilization system, which requires one or more genes encoded by the recombinant plasmid pHUT10 in addition to hutA carried on a second vector, was transferred to a wild-type strain and an isogenic tonB mutant of E. coli, the tonB mutant could utilize heme iron as efficiently as the wild-type strain. These data indicate that the V. cholerae heme utilization system reconstituted in E. coli does not require a functional TonB protein. The tonB mutant transformed with the heme utilization plasmids could not utilize the siderophore ferrichrome as an iron source, indicating that none of the genes encoded on the heme utilization plasmids complements the tonB defect in E. coli. It is possible that a gene(s) encoded by the recombinant heme utilization plasmids encodes a protein serving a TonB-like function in V. cholerae. A region in the carboxy terminus of HutA is homologous to the horse hemoglobin gamma chain, and the amino acids involved in forming the heme pocket in the gamma chain are conserved in HutA. These data suggest that this region of HutA is involved in heme binding.
Vibrio cholerae iron transport mutants were tested for their ability to cause disease in an infant mouse model. The mice were challenged with either the wild-type strain, a vibriobactin synthesis mutant, a heme utilization mutant, or double mutants containing both the vibriobactin synthesis defect and the heme utilization defect. When mice were challenged with 10(7) bacteria, the ability of the double mutant to survive in the intestines was greatly reduced and that of the heme utilization mutant was slightly reduced compared with that of the wild type or the vibriobactin synthesis mutant. When the inoculum size was reduced 10-fold, all of the iron transport mutants failed to colonize the intestines and failed to cause diarrhea in the mice, whereas the wild-type strain was not cleared and elicited a diarrheal response. These data indicate that disruption of either the heme utilization or the vibriobactin uptake system reduces the ability of V. cholerae to cause disease. One of the heme utilization mutants, DHH1, was found to be defective also in utilization of vibriobactin and ferrichrome, mimicking the Escherichia coli TonB- phenotype. This mutant was the least virulent of the iron transport mutants tested. Transformation of DHH1 with the recombinant plasmid pHUT4 restored the abilities to use hemin, vibriobactin, and ferrichrome as iron sources, suggesting that pHUT4 encodes a gene(s) involved globally in the iron transport systems. Hybridization of Vibrio DNA with the V. cholerae heme utilization genes demonstrated the presence of DNA homologous to the genes encoding the outer membrane protein HutA and the inner membrane protein HutB in all the V. cholerae strains tested. The probe containing hutA, but not that containing hutB, also hybridized to DNA from Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
The virulence of Campylobacter jejuni for 11-day-old chick embryos is associated with the ability to invade the chorio-allantoic membrane, to resist phagocytosis and to survive and proliferate in vivo. The pathogenicity of a well characterised avirulent C. jejuni strain was enhanced by passaging it intravenously and chorio-allantoically through chick embryos. The resulting isogenic variants had greatly increased ability to survive in vivo. In this study, the morphological and cell-surface characteristics of the avirulent parental strain were compared with those of the more virulent variants to determine whether pathogenicity was associated with one or more cell-surface constituents. Changes associated with the increased virulence of the two variants included alterations in cultural and cellular morphology, loss of flagella, expression of a new outer-membrane protein, alterations in cell-surface carbohydrates and decreases in cell-surface hydrophobicity.
Vibrio cholerae can utilize haemin or haemoglobin as its sole source of iron. Four haem utilization mutants of a classical strain of V. cholerae were isolated. These mutations were complemented with pHUT1, a cosmid clone isolated from a library of wild-type CA401 DNA. Two independent Tn5 insertions into the cloned sequence disrupted function in all of the complemented mutants. Escherichia coli 1017 transformed with pHUT1 failed to utilize haemin as an iron source; a second plasmid containing a different cloned fragment of V. cholerae DNA (pHUT3) was required in addition to pHUT1 to reconstitute the system in E. coli. Minicell analysis and SDS-PAGE of protein fractions indicate that pHUT10 (a subclone of pHUT1) encodes a 26 kDa inner membrane protein, and pHUT3 encodes a 77 kDa outer membrane protein. Loss of either protein by Tn5 mutagenesis abolishes haem utilization in E. coli. An E. coli hemA mutant that cannot synthesize porphyrins was transformed with the recombinant plasmids to determine whether the plasmids encoded the ability to transport the porphyrin as well as the iron. The transformants grew aerobically in media containing haemin, whereas the parental strain was unable to grow under these conditions. This indicates that V. cholerae haem-iron utilization genes allow transport of the entire haem moiety into the cell.
Successful competition for iron by potential pathogens is essential to establish infection. The roles of the various types of microbial iron acquisition systems in host-pathogen interactions depend on the nature of the infection and the location of the pathogen within the host. Microbes infecting the extracellular spaces of the host employ different strategies for iron acquisition than those that invade and multiply within host cells.
IrgA is an iron-regulated virulence factor for infection in an animal model with classical Vibrio cholerae strain 0395. We detected gene sequences hybridizing to irgA at high stringency in clinical isolates in addition to 0395, including another classical strain of V. cholerae, three V. cholerae strains of the El Tor biotype, three non-O1 isolates of V. cholerae, and individual isolates of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio fluvialis, and Vibrio alginolyticus. No hybridization to irgA was seen with chromosomal DNA from Vibrio vulnificus or Aeromonas hydrophila. To verify that irgA is the structural gene for the major iron-regulated outer membrane protein of V. cholerae, we determined the amino-terminal sequence of this protein recovered after gel electrophoresis and demonstrated that it corresponds to the amino acid sequence of IrgA deduced from the nucleotide sequence. Gel electrophoresis showed that two El Tor strains of V. cholerae had a major iron-regulated outer membrane protein identical in size and appearance to IrgA in strain 0395, consistent with the findings of DNA hybridization. We have previously suggested that IrgA might be the outer membrane receptor for the V. cholerae siderophore, vibriobactin. Biological data presented here, however, show that a mutation in irgA had no effect on the transport of vibriobactin and produced no defect in the utilization of iron from ferrichrome, ferric citrate, haemin or haemoglobin. The complete deduced amino acid sequence of IrgA demonstrated homology to the entire class of Escherichia coli TonB-dependent proteins, particularly Cir. Unlike the situation with Cir, however, we were unable to demonstrate a role for IrgA as a receptor for catechol-substituted cephalosporins. The role of IrgA in the pathogenesis of V. cholerae infection, its function as an outer membrane receptor, and its potential interaction with a TonB-like protein in V. cholerae remain to be determined.
A 74-kDa iron-regulated outer membrane protein of Vibrio cholerae acts as the receptor for the V. cholerae iron-siderophore complex, ferric vibriobactin. MBG14, a mutant of V. cholerae 0395 containing a TnphoA insertion in a gene designated viuA, lacks this 74-kDa outer membrane protein and is unable to bind or utilize exogenous ferric vibriobactin. Introduction of a plasmid containing the complete viuA coding sequence and 513 bp of upstream DNA into MBG14 restored ferric vibriobactin utilization to the mutant. The DNA insert in this plasmid was sequenced, revealing a single open reading frame of 2,061 bp, encoding a deduced protein of 687 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 76,417 Da and a predicted initial signal sequence of 37 amino acids. ViuA showed only weak homology to two iron-regulated outer membrane proteins in Escherichia coli, IutA and FecA. Construction of viuA::TnphoA gene fusions allowed study of the regulation of viuA expression by iron. This regulation in E. coli was dependent on the fur gene. Northern (RNA) blot analysis of RNA from wild-type V. cholerae grown in high- and low-iron media revealed a monocistronic viuA message that was negatively regulated by iron at the transcriptional level. Primer extension analysis identified a single transcriptional start site, located 243 bp above the translational start site. The promoter region of viuA contained two interrupted dyad symmetric nucleotide sequences, overlapping the -10 and -35 boxes, each similar to the E. coli Fur binding consensus sequence. Another iron-regulated gene in V. cholerae that is negatively regulated by fur, irgA, requires a positive transcriptional activator (irgB) for expression. However, a strain of V. cholerae mutant in irgB was unaffected in viuA expression. These studies suggest that there is conserved, global coordinate iron regulation in V. cholerae by fur; additional regulatory factors, superimposed upon the fur system, may provide more precise control of individual iron-regulated genes.