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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Growth phase-dependent response of Helicobacter pylori to iron starvation.

Iron is an essential nutrient that is often found in extremely limited available quantities within eukaryotic hosts. Because of this, many pathogenic bacteria have developed regulated networks of genes important for iron uptake and storage. In addition, it has been shown that many bacteria use available iron concentrations as a signal to regulate virulence gene expression. We have utilized DNA microarray technology to identify genes of the human pathogen Helicobacter pylori that are differentially regulated on a growth-inhibiting shift to iron starvation conditions. In addition, the growth phase-dependent expression of these genes was investigated by examining both exponential and stationary growth phase cultures. We identified known iron-regulated genes, as well as a number of genes whose regulation by iron concentration was not previously appreciated. Included in the list of regulated factors were the known virulence genes cagA, vacA, and napA. We examined the effect of iron starvation on the motility of H. pylori and found that exponential- and stationary-phase cultures responded differently to the stress. We further found that while growing cells are rapidly killed by iron starvation, stationary-phase cells show a remarkable ability to survive iron depletion. Finally, bioinformatic analysis of the predicted promoter regions of the differentially regulated genes led to identification of several putative Fur boxes, suggesting a direct role for Fur in iron-dependent regulation of these genes.[1]


  1. Growth phase-dependent response of Helicobacter pylori to iron starvation. Merrell, D.S., Thompson, L.J., Kim, C.C., Mitchell, H., Tompkins, L.S., Lee, A., Falkow, S. Infect. Immun. (2003) [Pubmed]
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