Structure and membrane affinity of a suite of amphiphilic siderophores produced by a marine bacterium

Jennifer S. Martinez, Jayme N. Carter-Franklin, Elizabeth L. Mann, Jessica D. Martin, Margo G. Haygood, Alison Butler

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161 Scopus citations


Iron concentrations in the ocean are low enough to limit the growth of marine microorganisms, which raises questions about the molecular mechanisms these organisms use to acquire iron. Marine bacteria have been shown to produce siderophores to facilitate iron(III) uptake. We describe the structures of a suite of amphiphilic siderophores, named the amphibactins, which are produced by a nearshore isolate, γ Proteobacterium, Vibrio sp. R-10. Each amphibactin has the same Tris-hydroxamate-containing peptidic headgroup composed of three ornithine residues and one serine residue but differs in the acyl appendage, which ranges from C-14 to C-18 and varies in the degree of saturation and hydroxylation. Although amphiphilic siderophores are relatively rare, cell-associated amphiphilic siderophores are even less common. We find that the amphibactins are cell-associated siderophores. As a result of the variation in the nature of the fatty acid appendage and the cellular location of the amphibactins, the membrane partitioning of these siderophores was investigated. The physiological mixture of amphibactins had a range of membrane affinities (3.8 × 103 to 8.3 × 102 M-1) that are larger overall than other amphiphilic siderophores, likely accounting for their cell association. This cell association is likely an important defense against siderophore diffusion in the oceanic environment. The phylogenetic affiliation of Vibrio sp. R-10 is discussed, as well as the observed predominance of amphiphilic siderophores produced by marine bacteria in contrast to those produced by terrestrial bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3754-3759
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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