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The Esterase PfeE, the Achilles’ Heel in the Battle for Iron between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli

Abstract : Bacteria access iron, a key nutrient, by producing siderophores or using siderophores produced by other microorganisms. The pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces two siderophores but is also able to pirate enterobactin (ENT), the siderophore produced by Escherichia coli. ENT-Fe complexes are imported across the outer membrane of P. aeruginosa by the two outer membrane transporters PfeA and PirA. Iron is released from ENT in the P. aeruginosa periplasm by hydrolysis of ENT by the esterase PfeE. We show here that pfeE gene deletion renders P. aeruginosa unable to grow in the presence of ENT because it is unable to access iron via this siderophore. Two-species co-cultures under iron-restricted conditions show that P. aeruginosa strongly represses the growth of E. coli as long it is able to produce its own siderophores. Both strains are present in similar proportions in the culture as long as the siderophore-deficient P. aeruginosa strain is able to use ENT produced by E. coli to access iron. If pfeE is deleted, E. coli has the upper hand in the culture and P. aeruginosa growth is repressed. Overall, these data show that PfeE is the Achilles’ heel of P. aeruginosa in communities with bacteria producing ENT.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - 4:29:01 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 1, 2022 - 3:54:34 AM
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Véronique Gasser, Laurianne Kuhn, Thibaut Hubert, Laurent Aussel, Philippe Hammann, et al.. The Esterase PfeE, the Achilles’ Heel in the Battle for Iron between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, MDPI, 2021, 22 (6), pp.2814. ⟨10.3390/ijms22062814⟩. ⟨hal-03216725⟩



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