How we learnt about iron acquisition in Pseudomonas aeruginosa: a series of very fortunate events
ABSTRACT The ferric uptake repressor (Fur) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and a wide assortment of other prokaryotic organisms, has been mostly regarded as a negative regulator (repressor) of genes involved in iron acquisition (e.g., expression and utilization of siderophores) or of iron-regulated genes involved in virulence (e.g., toxins). However, there is an emerging picture of an even broader role for this protein in basic bacterial biology. Evidence has now accumulated indicating that Fur acts in a positive manner as well, and that it has a considerably wider impact on gene expression than originally perceived. We discovered that in P. aeruginosa Fur directly (i.e., negatively) regulates the expression of two, nearly identical tandem small (<200nt) RNA transcripts (sRNA). Our initial experiments showed that these Fur-regulated sRNAs (PrrF) affected expression of certain genes we initially thought might be directly, but positively, regulated by Fur. However, with discovery of the Fur-regulated sRNAs, first in Escherichia coli and then in P. aeruginosa, it became clear that Fur, in at least some cases, exerts its positive regulatory effect on gene expression by repressing the expression a negative regulatory factor (i.e., PrrF), which acts at the posttranscriptional level. While a clear picture was already available regarding the function of genes (see above) that are directly repressed by Fur (negative regulation), the functional classes of genes that are influenced by Fur-repressed sRNAs (positive regulation) had not been identified for P. aeruginosa. Accordingly we established a set of rigorous criteria, based on microarray experimental data, to identify the cohort of genes that are likely to be directly influenced by Fur-regulated PrrFs. More than 60 genes that fulfilled these strict criteria were identified. These include genes encoding proteins required for the sequestration of iron (e.g., bacterioferritins) and genes encoding enzymes (superoxide dismutase) vital to defense against iron catalyzed oxidative stress. More notably however, we identified more than 30 genes encoding proteins involved in carbon catabolism and aerobic or anaerobic respiration that are regulated by PrrFs. A significant number of genes encoding enzymes (e.g., aconitase, citrate synthase) involved in the TCA cycle are controlled by the PrrFs however, in quite a few instances there are genes encoding proteins with redundant functions (i.e., aconitase, citrate synthase) that do not appear to be influenced in any way by PrrFs. Based on our microarray experiments, as well as on phenotypic data, we propose that the Fur regulated sRNAs (i.e., PrrFs) exert a powerful regulatory influence that permits the sparing of vital metabolic compounds (e.g., citrate) during periods of iron limitation. These and other data to be presented indicate that Fur controlled gene expression in bacteria like P. aeruginosa is considerably more imperative and intricate than previously appreciated.
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ABSTRACT: X-ray crystallography, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and biochemistry were utilized to investigate the effect of introducing hydrophobic interactions in the 4-fold (N148L and Q151L) and B-pores (D34F) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterioferritin B (BfrB) on BfrB function. The structures show only local structural perturbations and confirm the anticipated hydrophobic interactions. Surprisingly, structures obtained after soaking crystals in Fe2+-containing crystallization solution revealed that although iron loads into the ferroxidase centers of the mutants, the side chains of ferroxidase ligands E51 and H130 do not reorganize to bind the iron ions, as is seen in the wt BfrB structures. Similar experiments with a double mutant (C89S/K96C) prepared to introduce changes outside the pores show competent ferroxidase centers that function akin to those in wt BfrB. MD simulations comparing wt BfrB with the D34F and N148L mutants show that the mutants exhibit significantly reduced flexibility, and reveal a network of concerted motions linking ferroxidase centers and 4-fold and B-pores, which are important for imparting ferroxidase centers in BfrB with the required flexibility to function efficiently. In agreement, the efficiency of Fe2+ oxidation and uptake of the 4-fold and B-pore mutants in solution is significantly compromised relative to wt or C89S/K96C BfrB. Finally, our structures show a large number of previously unknown iron binding sites in the interior cavity and B-pores of BfrB, which reveal in unprecedented detail conduits followed by iron and phosphate ions across the BfrB shell, as well as paths in the interior cavity that may facilitate nucleation of the iron phosphate mineral.Biochemistry 01/2015; DOI:10.1021/bi501255r · 3.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Fur protein is the main sensor of cellular iron status in bacteria. In the present study, we inactivated the fur gene of Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes CECT5344 and characterized the resulting mutant. Our findings provide experimental evidence that, cyanide generates an intracellular signal equivalent to that triggered by iron deprivation, as witnessed by the induction of prrF and fiuA (ferrichrome receptor) expression in the presence of cyanide. The fur mutant also displayed slow growth, especially in minimal culture medium, increased sensitivity to cyanide in LB medium and as expected, resistance to manganese ions. Moreover, the mutant exhibited enhanced iron accumulation and increased sensitivity to streptonigrin, as well as to some inducers of oxidative stress, such as paraquat and menadione, yet it remained resistant to hydrogen peroxide. Surprisingly, neither the wild type strain nor the fur mutant strain produced siderophores that could be detected using the universal CAS-agar method.Journal of Biotechnology 04/2014; 190. DOI:10.1016/j.jbiotec.2014.03.030 · 2.88 Impact Factor
Journal of Biomaterials and Nanobiotechnology 01/2012; 03(04):519-527. DOI:10.4236/jbnb.2012.324053