Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Siderophore-mediated zinc acquisition enhances enterobacterial colonization of the inflamed gut


Zinc is an essential cofactor for bacterial metabolism, and many Enterobacteriaceae express the zinc transporters ZnuABC and ZupT to acquire this metal in the host. However, the probiotic bacterium Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (or "Nissle") exhibits appreciable growth in zinc-limited media even when these transporters are deleted. Here, we show that Nissle utilizes the siderophore yersiniabactin as a zincophore, enabling Nissle to grow in zinc-limited media, to tolerate calprotectin-mediated zinc sequestration, and to thrive in the inflamed gut. We also show that yersiniabactin's affinity for iron or zinc changes in a pH-dependent manner, with increased relative zinc binding as the pH increases. Thus, our results indicate that siderophore metal affinity can be influenced by the local environment and reveal a mechanism of zinc acquisition available to commensal and pathogenic Enterobacteriaceae.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View