Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 12791131
Mol. Microbiol. 2003 Jun;48(6):1467-80
Numerous bacteria are able to use free and haemoprotein-bound haem as iron sources because of the action of small secreted proteins called haemophores. Haemophores have very high affinity for haem, and can therefore extract haem from the haem-carrier proteins and deliver it to the cells by means of specific cell surface receptors. Haem is then taken up and the empty haemophores are recycled. Here, we report a study of the regulation of the Serratia marcescens has operon which is involved in haemophore-dependent haem acquisition. We characterized two genes encoding proteins homologous to specific ECF sigma and antisigma factors. We showed that they regulate the synthesis of the haemophore-specific outer membrane receptor, HasR, by a signal transduction mechanism similar to the siderophore surface-signalling systems. We also showed the essential role of HasR itself in this process. Using haem-loaded and haem-free haemophore, we identified the stimulus for the HasR-mediated signal transduction as being the binding of the haem-loaded haemophore to HasR. Thus, unlike siderophore-uptake systems, in which the signalling molecule is the transported substrate itself, in the haemophore-dependent haem uptake system the inducer and the transported substrate are different compounds.