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Identification and characterization of the hemophore-dependent heme acquisition system of Yersinia pestis

, : Identification and characterization of the hemophore-dependent heme acquisition system of Yersinia pestis. Infection and Immunity 69(11): 6707-6717

Yersinia pestis possesses a heme-protein acquisition system (Hmu) that allows it to utilize haem and haem-protein complexes as the sole-sources of iron. Analysis of the Y. pestis CO92 genomic sequence revealed a second haem-protein acquisition gene cluster that shares homology with the haemophore-dependent haem acquisition system (Has system) of Serratia marcescens. This locus consisted of the hasRyp receptor gene, the hasAyp haemophore gene, and genes encoding components of the HasAyp dedicated ABC transporter factor (hasDEyp), as well as a tonB homologue (hasByp). By using a reconstituted secretion system in Escherichia coli, we showed that HasAyp is a secreted haem-binding protein and that expression of HasAyp is iron regulated in E. coli. The use of a transcriptional reporter fusion showed that the hasRADEB promoter is Fur regulated and has increased activity at 37 degrees C. Haemoglobin utilization via the Hasyp system was studied with both E. coli and Y. pestis, for which has and has hmu mutant strains were used. No contribution of the Has system to haem utilization was observed in either E. coli or Y. pestis under the conditions we tested. Previously it was shown that a deletion of the Hmu system had no effect on the virulence of Y. pestis in a mouse model of bubonic plague. An Hmu- Has- double mutant also retained full virulence in this model of infection. This report constitutes the first attempt to investigate the contribution of the haemophore-dependent haem acquisition system in bacterial pathogenicity.


PMID: 11598042

DOI: 10.1128/IAI.69.11.6707-6717.2001

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