The iron-regulated transcriptome and proteome of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C.

PMID 17133369


Restricting bacterial growth by iron-chelating proteins that reduce iron availability in mucosal secretions and body fluids belongs to basic mechanisms of innate immunity. Most pathogens and commensals thus developed gene regulons responding to iron concentration and encoding iron acquisition systems and genes involved in host colonization and virulence. Here, we analyzed the steady-state composition of the iron-regulated proteome and transcriptome of an invasive serogroup C clinical isolate of Neisseria meningitidis. The proteome of meningococci grown under iron-depleted and iron-replete conditions was analyzed by 2-DE and proteins exhibiting significantly altered expression were identified by MALDI-TOF MS analysis. In parallel, total RNA was isolated from the same cultures and iron-regulated genes were identified using whole-genome DNA microarrays. The proteome and the transcriptome were found to overlap by only 19 iron-regulated genes/proteins, with 111 genes/proteins being significantly up-regulated in iron-replete cultures and 130 genes/proteins being up-regulated during iron starvation, respectively. Comparisons with published transcriptomic data for N. meningitidis serogroup B, moreover, indicate that expression of up to 20% of all meningococcal genes can be subject to regulation in function of iron availability.