Influence of the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) protein on pathogenicity in Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp brasiliense

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 15
  • SDG 13
  • SDG 2
  • Abstract:

    Iron is an important nutrient for the survival and growth of many organisms. In order to survive, iron uptake from the environment must be strictly regulated and maintained to avoid iron toxicity. The ferric uptake regulator protein (Fur) regulates genes involved in iron homeostasis in many bacteria, including phytopathogens. However, to date, the role played by Fur in the biology of Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense (Pcb1692), an important pathogen of potatoes, has not yet been studied. To this end, we used the lambda recombineering method to generate a fur mutant strain of Pcb1692 and assessed the virulence and fitness of the mutant strain. The results showed that production of siderophores in Pcb1692Δfur increased compared to the Pcb1692 wild-type and the complemented strain Pcb1692Δfur-pfur. However, production of N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHLs), biofilm formation, exopolysaccharide (EPS) production, virulence on potato tubers and swimming motility, were all significantly decreased in Pcb1692Δfur compared to the wild-type and complemented Pcb1692Δfur-pfur strains. The Pcb1692Δfur mutant also demonstrated significant sensitivity to oxidative stress when exposed to H2O2. Consistent with phenotypic results, qRT-PCR results demonstrated that Fur down-regulates genes which encode proteins associated with: iron uptake (HasA-extracellular heme-binding protein and Ferrodoxin- AED-0004132), stress response (SodC-superoxide dismutase), plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PrtA and CelV) and motility (FlhC and MotA). We conclude that the ferric uptake regulator protein (Fur) of Pcb1692 regulates traits that are important to host-pathogens interactions.