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In gram‐negative bacteria, energy‐dependent active transport of iron‐bound sub‐ strates across the outer membrane is achieved through the TonB systems of proteins. Three TonB systems have been identified in the human pathogen Vibrio vulnificus. The TonB1 system contains three proteins: TonB1, ExbB1, and ExbD1. Both the TonB2 and TonB3 systems have been shown to also contain a fourth protein, TtpC2 and TtpC3, respectively. Here, we report and begin to characterize two additional proteins in the TonB2 and TonB3 systems: TtpB and TtpD. Both TtpB2 and TtpD2 are absolutely required for the function of the TonB2 system in V. vulnificus. However, although both TtpB3 and TtpD3 in the TonB3 system are related to the proteins in the TonB2 system, neither are active in iron transport. All six protein components of the TonB2 system—TonB2, ExbB2, ExbD2, TtpB2, TtpC2, and TtpD2—are essential for the uptake of both endogenously produced iron‐bound siderophores and exog‐ enous siderophores produced from other organisms. Through complementation, we have shown that V. vulnificus is capable of using different TtpD2 proteins from other Vibrio species to bring in multiple siderophores. In contrast, we also demonstrate that TtpB2 must come from V. vulnificus, and not other species within the genus, to complement mutations in the TonB2 system.

Author Supplied Keywords

Iron, TonB, TtpB, TtpD, Vibrio vulnificus


Cytology; Pathogenic microorganisms; Marine bacteria

Publication Information

© 2019 Ryan Kenton

Archived version is the final published version.





Document Type

Journal Article