Microbiology (Reading, England)

Identification and analysis of a siderophore biosynthetic gene cluster from Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58.

PMID 15528670


Using the complete genome sequence from Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58, the authors identified a secondary metabolite gene cluster that encodes the biosynthesis of a metabolite with siderophore activity. Support for this conclusion came from genetic and regulatory analysis of the gene cluster, along with the purification of a metabolite from A. tumefaciens C58 with iron-chelating activity. Genetic analysis of mutant strains disrupted in this gene cluster showed that these strains grew more slowly than the wild-type strain in medium lacking iron. Additionally, the mutant strains failed to produce a chrome-azurol-S-reactive material in liquid or solid medium, and failed to produce the metabolite with iron-chelating characteristics that was identified in the wild-type strain. Addition of this purified metabolite to the growth medium of a mutant strain restored its ability to grow in iron-deficient medium. Furthermore, expression of this gene cluster was induced by growth under iron-limiting conditions, suggesting that expression of this gene cluster occurs when iron is scarce. These data are all consistent with the proposal that the proteins encoded by this gene cluster are involved in the production of a siderophore. Interestingly, these proteins show the highest level of amino acid similarity to proteins from a gene cluster found in the filamentous cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. PCC7120, rather than to known siderophore biosynthetic enzymes. Given these properties, it is proposed that the siderophore produced by A. tumefaciens C58 will have a unique chemical structure. Production of the siderophore was not required for virulence of A. tumefaciens when tested with a standard stem inoculation assay.

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