Molecular regulation of iron uptake in pseudomonas aeruginosa

  • Karl Gensberg

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Abstract

The microbial demand for iron is often met by the elaboration of siderophores into the surrounding medium and expression of cognate outer membrane receptors for the ferric siderophore complexes. Conditions of iron limitation, such as those encountered in vivo, cause Pseudomonas aeruginosa to express two high-affinity iron-uptake systems based on pyoverdin and pyochelin. These systems will operate both in the organism's natural habitat, soil and water, where the solubility of iron at neutral pH is extremely low, and in the human host where the availability of free iron is too low to sustain bacterial growth due to the iron-binding glycoproteins transferrin and lactoferrin. Cross-feeding and radiolabelled iron uptake experiments demonstrated that pyoverdin biosynthesis and uptake were highly heterogeneous amongst P.aeruginosa strains, that growth either in the presence of pyoverdin or pyochelin resulted in induction of specific IROMPs, and that induction of iron uptake is siderophore-specific.
The P.aeruginosa Tn5 mutant PH1 is deficient in ferripyoverdin uptake and resistant to pyocin Sa, suggesting that the site of interaction of pyocin Sa is a ferripyoverdin receptor. Additional Tn5 mutants appeared to exploit different strategies to achieve pyocin Sa-resistance, involving modifications in expression of pyoverdin-mediated iron uptake, indicating that complex regulatory systems exist to enable these organisms to compete effectively for iron.
Modulation of expression of IROMPs prompted a study of the mechanism of uptake of a semi-synthetic C(7) α-formamido substituted cephalosporin BRL 41897A. Sensitivity to this agent correlated with expression of the 75 kDa ferri-pyochelin receptor and demonstrated the potential of high-affinity iron uptake systems for targeting of novel antibiotics.
Studies with ferri-pyoverdin uptake-deficient mutant PH1 indicated that
expression of outer membrane protein G (OprG), which is usually expressed under iron-rich conditions and repressed under iron-deficient conditions, was perturbed. Attempts were made to clone the oprG gene using a degenerate probe based on the N-terminal amino acid sequence. A strongly hybridising HindIll restriction fragment was cloned and sequenced, but failed to reveal an open reading frame correspondmg to OprG. However, there appears to be good evidence that a part of the gene codmg for the hydrophilic membrane-associated ATP-binding component of a hitherto uncharacterised periplasmic-
binding-protein-dependent transport system has been isolated. The full organisation and sequence of the operon, and substrate for this putative transport system, are yet: to be elucidated,
Date of AwardJan 1994
LanguageEnglish
SupervisorAnthony W. Smith (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • pyoverdin
  • pyochelin
  • outer membrane proteins
  • catecholic cephalosporin
  • periplasmic-binding-protein-dependent transport system

Cite this

Molecular regulation of iron uptake in pseudomonas aeruginosa
Gensberg, K. (Author). Jan 1994

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy