Opportunistic use of catecholamine neurotransmitters as siderophores to access iron by Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Environmental Microbiology
Quentin PerraudIsabelle J Schalk


Iron is an essential nutrient for bacterial growth and the cause of a fierce battle between the pathogen and host during infection. Bacteria have developed several strategies to access iron from the host, the most common being the production of siderophores, small iron-chelating molecules secreted into the bacterial environment. The opportunist pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces two siderophores, pyoverdine and pyochelin, and is also able to use a wide panoply of xenosiderophores, siderophores produced by other microorganisms. Here, we demonstrate that catecholamine neurotransmitters (dopamine, l-DOPA, epinephrine and norepinephrine) are able to chelate iron and efficiently bring iron into P. aeruginosa cells via TonB-dependent transporters (TBDTs). Bacterial growth assays under strong iron-restricted conditions and with numerous mutants showed that the TBDTs involved are PiuA and PirA. PiuA exhibited more pronounced specificity for dopamine uptake than for norepinephrine, epinephrine and l-DOPA, whereas PirA specificity appeared to be higher for l-DOPA and norepinephrine. Proteomic and qRT-PCR approaches showed pirA transcription and expression to be induced in the presence of all four catecholamines. Finally, the oxidat...Continue Reading


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Iron Chelating Agents
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Transcription, Genetic
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