SUMMARY: The mesophilic species are opportunistic pathogens that produce either of the siderophores amonabactin or enterobactin. Acquisition of iron for growth from Fe-transferrin in serum was dependent on the siderophore amonabactin; 50 of 54 amonabactin-producing isolates grew in heat-inactivated serum, whereas none of 30 enterobactin-producing strains were able to grow. Most isolates (regardless of siderophore produced) used haem as a sole source of iron for growth; all of 33 isolates grew with either haematin or haemoglobin and 30 of these used haemoglobin when complexed to human haptoglobin. Mutants unable to synthesize a siderophore used iron from haem, suggesting that this capacity was unrelated to siderophore production. Some members of the mesophilic species have evolved both siderophore-dependent and -independent mechanisms for acquisition of iron from a host.


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