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The Iron-Binding Protein Dps2 Confers Peroxide Stress Resistance on Bacillus anthracis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Susanne Pohl, Kristof Gizynski, Professor Colin Harwood


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Iron is an essential nutrient that is implicated in most cellular oxidation reactions. However, iron is a highly reactive element that, if not appropriately chaperoned, can react with endogenously and exogenously generated oxidants such as hydrogen peroxide to generate highly toxic hydroxyl radicals. Dps proteins (DNA-binding proteins from starved cells) form a distinct class (the miniferritins) of iron-binding proteins within the ferritin superfamily. Bacillus anthracis encodes two Dps-like proteins, Dps1 and Dps2, the latter being one of the main iron-containing proteins in the cytoplasm. In this study, the function of Dps2 was characterized in vivo. A B. anthracis Delta dps2 mutant was constructed by double-crossover mutagenesis. The growth of the Delta dps2 mutant was unaffected by excess iron or iron-limiting conditions, indicating that the primary role of Dps2 is not that of iron sequestration and storage. However, the Delta dps2 mutant was highly sensitive to H2O2, and pretreatment of the cells with the iron chelator deferoxamine mesylate (DFM) significantly reduced its sensitivity to H2O2 stress. In addition, the transcription of dps2 was upregulated by H2O2 treatment and derepressed in a perR mutant, indicating that dps2 is a member of the regulon controlled by the PerR regulator. This indicates that the main role of Dps2 is to protect cells from peroxide stress by inhibiting the iron-catalyzed production of OH.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tu WY, Pohl S, Gizynski K, Harwood CR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Bacteriology

Year: 2012

Volume: 194

Issue: 5

Pages: 925-931

Print publication date: 01/12/2011

ISSN (print): 0021-9193

ISSN (electronic): 1098-5530

Publisher: American Society for Microbiology


DOI: 10.1128/JB.06005-11


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Funder referenceFunder name
United Kingdom Higher Education Funding Council
Sarawak Foundation, Malaysia
United Kingdom Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council