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Title: Host iron binding proteins acting as niche indicators for Neisseria meningitidis
Authors: Jordan, PW
Saunders, NJ
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: PLoS One, 4(4): e5198, Apr 2009
Abstract: Neisseria meningitidis requires iron, and in the absence of iron alters its gene expression to increase iron acquisition and to make the best use of the iron it has. During different stages of colonization and infection available iron sources differ, particularly the host iron-binding proteins haemoglobin, transferrin, and lactoferrin. This study compared the transcriptional responses of N. meningitidis, when grown in the presence of these iron donors and ferric iron, using microarrays. Specific transcriptional responses to the different iron sources were observed, including genes that are not part of the response to iron restriction. Comparisons between growth on haemoglobin and either transferrin or lactoferrin identified changes in 124 and 114 genes, respectively, and 33 genes differed between growth on transferrin or lactoferrin. Comparison of gene expression from growth on haemoglobin or ferric iron showed that transcription is also affected by the entry of either haem or ferric iron into the cytoplasm. This is consistent with a model in which N. meningitidis uses the relative availability of host iron donor proteins as niche indicators. Growth in the presence of haemoglobin is associated with a response likely to be adaptive to survival within the bloodstream, which is supported by serum killing assays that indicate growth on haemoglobin significantly increases survival, and the response to lactoferrin is associated with increased expression of epithelial cell adhesins and oxidative stress response molecules. The transferrin receptor is the most highly transcribed receptor and has the fewest genes specifically induced in its presence, suggesting this is the favoured iron source for the bacterium. Most strikingly, the responses to haemoglobin, which is associated with unrestricted growth, indicates a low iron transcriptional profile, associated with an aggressive phenotype that may be adaptive to access host iron sources but which may also underlie the lethal features of meningococcal septicaemia, when haemoglobin may become a major source of iron.
Description: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited - Copyright @ 2009 Jordan, Saunders.
ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:Biological Sciences
Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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