Amy Dickenson

University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, United States

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Publications (4)12.22 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Iron (Fe) is an essential element for most organisms which must be obtained from the local environment. In the case of pathogenic bacteria, this fundamental element must be acquired from the fluids and tissues of the infected host. A variety of systems have evolved in bacteria for efficient acquisition of host-bound Fe. The gram-negative bacterium Bordetella avium, upon colonization of the avian upper respiratory tract, produces a disease in birds that has striking similarity to whooping cough, a disease caused by the obligate human pathogen Bordetella pertussis. We describe a B. avium Fe utilization locus comprised of bhuR and six accessory genes (rhuIR and bhuSTUV). Genetic manipulations of B. avium confirmed that bhuR, which encodes a putative outer membrane heme receptor, mediates efficient acquisition of Fe from hemin and hemoproteins (hemoglobin, myoglobin, and catalase). BhuR contains motifs which are common to bacterial heme receptors, including a consensus FRAP domain, an NPNL domain, and two TonB boxes. An N-terminal 32-amino-acid segment, putatively required for rhuIR-dependent regulated expression of bhuR, is present in BhuR but not in other bacterial heme receptors. Two forms of BhuR were observed in the outer membrane of B. avium: a 91-kDa polypeptide consistent in size with the predicted mature protein and a smaller 82-kDa polypeptide which lacks the 104 amino acids found at the N terminus of the 91-kDa form. A mutation in hemA was engineered in B. avium to demonstrate that the bacterium transports heme into the cytoplasm in a BhuR-dependent manner. The role of BhuR in virulence was established in turkey poults by use of a competitive-infection model.
    Infection and Immunity 11/2002; 70(10):5390-403. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For most, if not all, organisms, iron (Fe) is an essential element. In response to the nutritional requirement for Fe, bacteria evolved complex systems to acquire the element from the environment. The genes encoding these systems are often coordinately regulated in response to the Fe concentration. Recent investigations revealed that Bordetella avium, a respiratory pathogen of birds, expressed a number of Fe-regulated genes (T. D. Connell, A. Dickenson, A. J. Martone, K. T. Militello, M. J. Filiatraut, M. L. Hayman, and J. Pitula, Infect. Immun. 66:3597–3605, 1998). By using manganese selection on an engineered strain of B. avium that carried an Fe-regulated alkaline phosphatase reporter gene, a mutant was obtained that was affected in expression of Fe-regulated genes. To determine if Fe-dependent regulation in B. avium was mediated by a fur-like gene, a fragment of the B. avium chromosome, corresponding to the fur locus of B. pertussis, was cloned by PCR. Sequencing revealed that the fragment from B. avium encoded a polypeptide with 92% identity to the Fur protein of B. pertussis. In vivo experiments showed that the cloned gene complemented H1780, a fur mutant of Escherichia coli. Southern hybridizations and PCRs demonstrated that the manganese mutant had a deletion of 2 to 3 kbp of nucleotide sequence in the region located immediately 5′ of the fur open reading frame. A spontaneous PCR-derived mutant of the B. avium fur gene was isolated that encoded a Fur protein in which a histidine was substituted for an arginine at amino acid position 18 (R18H). Genetic analysis showed that the R18H mutant gene when cloned into a low-copy-number vector did not complement the fur mutation in H1780. However, the R18H mutant gene was able to complement the fur mutation when cloned into a high-copy-number vector. The cloned wild-type fur gene will be useful as a genetic tool to identify Fur-regulated genes in the B. avium chromosome.
    Infection and Immunity 07/1999; · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For most, if not all, organisms, iron (Fe) is an essential element. In response to the nutritional requirement for Fe, bacteria evolved complex systems to acquire the element from the environment. The genes encoding these systems are often coordinately regulated in response to the Fe concentration. Recent investigations revealed thatBordetella avium, a respiratory pathogen of birds, expressed a number of Fe-regulated genes (T. D. Connell, A. Dickenson, A. J. Martone, K. T. Militello, M. J. Filiatraut, M. L. Hayman, and J. Pitula, Infect. Immun. 66:3597–3605, 1998). By using manganese selection on an engineered strain of B. avium that carried an Fe-regulated alkaline phosphatase reporter gene, a mutant was obtained that was affected in expression of Fe-regulated genes. To determine if Fe-dependent regulation in B. avium was mediated by afur-like gene, a fragment of the B. aviumchromosome, corresponding to the fur locus of B. pertussis, was cloned by PCR. Sequencing revealed that the fragment from B. avium encoded a polypeptide with 92% identity to the Fur protein of B. pertussis. In vivo experiments showed that the cloned gene complemented H1780, afur mutant of Escherichia coli. Southern hybridizations and PCRs demonstrated that the manganese mutant had a deletion of 2 to 3 kbp of nucleotide sequence in the region located immediately 5′ of the fur open reading frame. A spontaneous PCR-derived mutant of the B. avium fur gene was isolated that encoded a Fur protein in which a histidine was substituted for an arginine at amino acid position 18 (R18H). Genetic analysis showed that the R18H mutant gene when cloned into a low-copy-number vector did not complement the fur mutation in H1780. However, the R18H mutant gene was able to complement the fur mutation when cloned into a high-copy-number vector. The cloned wild-typefur gene will be useful as a genetic tool to identify Fur-regulated genes in the B. avium chromosome.
    Infection and Immunity. 06/1999; 67(6).
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    ABSTRACT: Iron starvation of Bordetella avium induced expression of five outer membrane proteins with apparent molecular masses of 95, 92, 91.5, 84, and 51 kDa. Iron-responsive outer membrane proteins (FeRPs) of similar sizes were detected in six of six strains of B. avium, suggesting that the five FeRPs are common constituents of the outer membrane of most, if not all, strains of B. avium. Iron-regulated genes of B. avium were targeted for mutagenesis with the transposon TnphoA. Two mutants with iron-responsive alkaline phosphatase activities were isolated from the transposon library. The transposon insertion did not alter the iron-regulated expression of the five FeRPs in mutant Pho-6. The mutant Pho-20 exhibited a loss in expression of the 95-kDa FeRP and the 84-kDa FeRP. Both Pho-6 and Pho-20 were able to use free iron as a nutrient source. However, Pho-20 was severely compromised in its ability to use iron present in turkey serum. The data indicated that the mutation in Pho-20 affected expression of one or more components of an uptake machinery that is involved in acquisition of iron from organic ferricomplexes.
    Infection and Immunity 09/1998; 66(8):3597-605. · 4.07 Impact Factor