The role of pyoverdin, the main siderophore in iron-gathering capacity produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, in bacterial growth in vivo is controversial, although iron is important for virulence. To determine the ability of pyoverdin to compete for iron with the human iron-binding protein transferrin, wild-type P. aeruginosa ATCC 15692 (PAO1 strain) and PAO pyoverdin-deficient mutants were grown at 37 degrees C in bicarbonate-containing succinate medium to which apotransferrin had been added. Growth of the pyoverdin-deficient mutants was fully inhibited compared with that of the wild type but was restored when pyoverdin was added to the medium. Moreover, when growth took place at a temperature at which no pyoverdin production occurred (43 degrees C), the wild-type PAO1 strain behaved the same as the pyoverdin-deficient mutants, with growth inhibited by apotransferrin in the presence of bicarbonate and restored by pyoverdin supplementation. Growth inhibition was never observed in bicarbonate-free succinate medium, whatever the strain and the temperature for growth. In vivo, in contrast to results obtained with the wild-type strain, pyoverdin-deficient mutants demonstrated no virulence when injected at 10(2) CFU into burned mice. However, virulence was restored when purified pyoverdin originating from the wild-type strain was supplemented during the infection. These results strongly suggest that pyoverdin competes directly with transferrin for iron and that it is an essential element for in vivo iron gathering and virulence expression in P. aeruginosa. Rapid removal of iron from [59Fe]ferritransferrin by pyoverdin in vitro supports this view
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.