Global analysis of the Nitrosomonas europaea iron starvation stimulon
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The importance of iron to the metabolism of the ammonia-oxidizing bacterium Nitrosomonas europaea is well known. However, the mechanisms by which N. europaea acquires iron under iron limitation are less well known. To obtain insight into these mechanisms, transcriptional profiling of N. europaea was performed during growth under different iron availabilities. Of 2,355 N. europaea genes on DNA microarrays, transcripts for 247 genes were identified as differentially expressed when cells were grown under iron limitation compared to cells grown under iron-replete conditions. Genes with higher transcript levels in response to iron limitation included those with confirmed or assigned roles in iron acquisition. Genes with lower transcript levels included those encoding iron-containing proteins. Our analysis identified several potentially novel iron acquisition systems in N. europaea and provided support for the primary involvement of a TonB-dependent heme receptor gene in N. europaea iron homeostasis. We demonstrated that hemoglobin can act as an iron source under iron-depleted conditions for N. europaea. In addition, we identified a hypothetical protein carrying a lipocalin-like domain that may have the ability to chelate iron for growth in iron-limited media.
KeywordsNitrosomonas europaea Fe Iron limitation Microarrays Lipocalin Hemoglobin
This research was supported by grant DE-FG03-01ER63149 to D. J. A. and the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station.
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