SUMMARY: The aerobactin iron-uptake system of plasmid ColV-K30, genetically isolated from other piasmid determinants by molecular cloning, was sufficient to restore full virulence in a mouse peritonitis model to a clinical isolate, D551 (O78:H), whose resident aerobactin-encoding ColV plasmid had been lost by curing. Antiserum was raised in rabbits against live K12 cells expressing the outer-membrane aerobactin receptor protein and absorbed with an isogenic strain lacking the receptor. This antiserum inhibited binding of aerobactin, cloacin DF13 and bacteriophage B74K to the native protein in whole K12 bacteria expressing the receptor, or in membranes prepared from such organisms. However, it did not react with the native receptor protein in several wild strains unless lipopolysaccharide was first removed by treatment with trichloroacetic acid, nor did it protect mice in experimental infections with strain D551. Antisera raised in rabbits against partially or fully denatured forms of the aerobactin receptor reacted only in assays involving denatured protein; they showed no inhibition of the biological activities of the native receptor.


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