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Plant and Soil

, Volume 130, Issue 1–2, pp 179–198 | Cite as

Mechanisms of iron acquisition from siderophores by microorganisms and plants

  • D. E. Crowley
  • Y. C. Wang
  • C. P. P. Reid
  • P. J. Szaniszlo
Article

Abstract

Most bacteria, fungi, and some plants respond to Fe stress by the induction of high-affinity Fe transport systems that utilize biosyrthetic chelates called siderophores. To competitively acquire Fe, some microbes have transport systems that enable them to use other siderophore types in addition to their own. Bacteria such as Escherichia coli achieve this ability by using a combination of separate siderophore receptors and transporters, whereas other microbial species, such as Streptomyces pilosus, use a low specificity, high-affinity transport system that recognizes more than one siderophore type. By either strategy, such versatility may provide an advantage under Fe-limiting conditions; allowing use of siderophores produced at another organism's expense, or Fe acquisition from siderophores that could otherwise sequester Fe in an unavailable form.

Plants that use microbial siderophores may also be more Fe efficient by virtue of their ability to use a variety of Fe sources under different soil conditions. Results of our research examining Fe transport by oat indicate parity in plant and microbial requirements for Fe and suggest that siderophores produced by root-colonizing microbes may provide Fe to plants that can use the predominant siderophore types. In conjunction with transport mechanisms, ecological and soil chemical factors can influence the efficacy of siderophores and phytosiderophores. A model presented here attempts to incorporate these factors to predict conditions that may govern competition for Fe in the plant rhizosphere. Possibly such competition has been a factor in the evolution of broad transport capabilities for different siderophores by microorganisms and plants.

Key words

chelate ecology membrane transport plant iron nutrition plant-microbial interactions rhizosphere 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. E. Crowley
    • 1
  • Y. C. Wang
    • 1
  • C. P. P. Reid
    • 2
  • P. J. Szaniszlo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of ForestryIFAS, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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