Analysis of a Ferric Uptake Regulator (Fur) Mutant of Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough
Previous experiments examining the transcriptional profile of the anaerobe Desulfovibrio vulgaris demonstrated up-regulation of the Fur regulon in response to various environmental stressors. To test the involvement of Fur in the growth response and transcriptional regulation of D. vulgaris, a targeted mutagenesis procedure was used for deleting the fur gene. Growth of the resulting ?fur mutant (JW707) was not affected by iron availability, but the mutant did exhibit increased sensitivity to nitrite and osmotic stresses compared to the wild type. Transcriptional profiling of JW707 indicated that iron-bound Fur acts as a traditional repressor for ferrous iron uptake genes (feoAB) and other genes containing a predicted Fur binding site within their promoter. Despite the apparent lack of siderophore biosynthesis genes within the D. vulgaris genome, a large 12-gene operon encoding orthologs to TonB and TolQR also appeared to be repressed by iron-bound Fur. While other genes predicted to be involved in iron homeostasis were unaffected by the presence or absence of Fur, alternative expression patterns that could be interpreted as repression or activation by iron-free Fur were observed. Both the physiological and transcriptional data implicate a global regulatory role for Fur in the sulfate-reducing bacterium D. vulgaris.