Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



THE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY VOL. 286, NO. 28, pp. 25317–25330, July 15, 2011


© 2011 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc


In the uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain F11, in silico genome analysis revealed the dicistronic iron uptake operon fetMP, which is under iron-regulated control mediated by the Fur regulator. The expression of fetMP in a mutant strain lacking known iron uptake systems improved growth under iron depletion and increased cellular iron accumulation. FetM is a member of the iron/lead transporter superfamily and is essential for iron uptake by the Fet system. FetP is a periplasmic protein that enhanced iron uptake by FetM. Recombinant FetP bound Cu(II) and the iron analog Mn(II) at distinct sites. The crystal structure of the FetP dimer reveals a copper site in each FetP subunit that adopts two conformations: CuA with a tetrahedral geometry composed of His44, Met90, His97, and His127, and CuB, a second degenerate octahedral geometry with the addition of Glu46. The copper ions of each site occupy distinct positions and are separated by 1.3A . Nearby, a putative additional Cu(I) binding site is proposed as an electron source that may function with CuA/CuB displacement to reduce Fe(III) for transport by FetM. Together, these data indicate that FetMP is an additional iron uptake system composed of a putative iron permease and an iron-scavenging and potentially iron-reducing periplasmic protein.

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