International Microbiology, Vol 19, No 1 (2016)

A functional ferric uptake regulator (Fur) protein in the fish pathogen Piscirickettsia salmonis

Oscar Almarza, Katherine Valderrama, Manuel Ayala, Cristopher Segovia, Javier Santander


Piscirickettsia salmonis, a Gram-negative fastidious facultative intracellular pathogen, is the causative agent of the salmonid rickettsial septicemia (SRS). The P. salmonis iron acquisition mechanisms and its molecular regulation are unknown. Iron is an essential element for bacterial pathogenesis. Typically, genes that encode for the iron acquisition machinery are regulated by the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) protein. P. salmonis fur sequence database reveals a diversity of fur genes without functional verification. Due to the fastidious nature of this bacterium, we evaluated the functionality of P. salmonis fur in the Salmonella Δfur heterologous system. Although P. salmonis fur gene strongly differed from the common Fur sequences, it restored the regulatory mechanisms of iron acquisition in Salmonella. We concluded that P. salmonis LF-89 has a conserved functional Fur protein, which reinforces the importance of iron during fish infection. [Int Microbiol 2016; 49-55]

Keywords: Piscirickettsia salmonis · ferric uptake regulator protein (Fur) · transcriptional regulatory element · iron acquisition · fish pathogens

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