Corynebacterium diphtheriae genes required for acquisition of iron from haemin and haemoglobin are homologous to ABC haemin transporters
Article first published online: 18 JAN 2002
Volume 36, Issue 1, pages 68–84, April 2000
How to Cite
Drazek, E. S., Hammack, C. A., Sr and Schmitt, M. P. (2000), Corynebacterium diphtheriae genes required for acquisition of iron from haemin and haemoglobin are homologous to ABC haemin transporters. Molecular Microbiology, 36: 68–84. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2000.01818.x
- Issue published online: 18 JAN 2002
- Article first published online: 18 JAN 2002
- Received 28 June, 1999; revised 25 October, 1990; accepted 20 December, 1999.
Corynebacterium diphtheriae and Corynebacterium ulcerans use haemin and haemoglobin as essential sources of iron during growth in iron-depleted medium. C. diphtheriae and C. ulcerans mutants defective in haemin iron utilization were isolated and characterized. Four clones from a C. diphtheriae genomic library complemented several of the Corynebacteria haemin utilization mutants. The complementing plasmids shared an ≈ 3 kb region, and the nucleotide sequence of one of the plasmids revealed five open reading frames that appeared to be organized in a single operon. The first three genes, which we have termed hmuT, hmuU and hmuV, shared striking homology with genes that are known to be required for haemin transport in Gram-negative bacteria and are proposed to be part of an ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transport system. The hmuT gene encodes a 37 kDa lipoprotein that is associated with the cytoplasmic membrane when expressed in Escherichi coli and C. diphtheriae. HmuT binds in vitro to haemin- and haemoglobin-agarose, suggesting that it is capable of binding both haemin and haemoglobin and may function as the haemin receptor in C. diphtheriae. This study reports the first genetic characterization of a transport system that is involved in the utilization of haemin and haemoglobin as iron sources by a Gram-positive bacterium.