Bordetella AlcS transporter functions in alcaligin siderophore export and is central to inducer sensing in positive regulation of alcaligin system gene expression

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Abstract

Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella bronchiseptica, which are respiratory mucosal pathogens of mammals, produce and utilize the siderophore alcaligin to acquire iron in response to iron starvation. A predicted permease of the major facilitator superfamily class of membrane efflux pumps, AlcS (synonyms, OrfX and Bcr), was reported to be encoded within the alcaligin gene cluster. In this study, alcS null mutants were found to be defective in growth under iron starvation conditions, in iron source utilization, and in alcaligin export. trans complementation using cloned alcS genes of B. pertussis or B. bronchiseptica restored the wild-type phenotype to the alcS mutants. Although the levels of extracellular alcaligin measured in alcS strain culture fluids were severely reduced compared with the wild-type levels, alcS mutants had elevated levels of cell-associated alcaligin, implicating AlcS in alcaligin export. Interestingly, a ΔalcA mutation that eliminated alcaligin production suppressed the growth defects of alcS mutants. This suppression and the alcaligin production defect were reversed by trans complementation of the ΔalcA mutation in the double-mutant strain, confirming that the growth-defective phenotype of alcS mutants is associated with alcaligin production. In an alcA::mim-Tn5 lacZ1 operon fusion strain background, an alcS null mutation resulted in enhanced AlcR-dependent transcriptional responsiveness to alcaligin inducer, conversely, AlcS overproduction blunted the transcriptional response to alcaligin. These transcription studies indicate that the alcaligin exporter activity of AlcS is required to maintain appropriate intracellular alcaligin levels for normal inducer sensing and responsiveness necessary for positive regulation of alcaligin system gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3650-3661
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Volume187
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2005

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