Iron uptake by the phytopathogenic fungus was studied using synthetic biomimetic ferrichrome analogues and their fluorescently labelled derivatives as structural and dynamic probes, respectively. The use of structurally distinct analogues enabled determination of the structural requirements for recognition by the fungal iron-uptake system. The application of fluorescently labelled derivatives which convert from a non-fluorescent to a fluorescent state upon iron (III) release enabled monitoring of iron uptake in real time both fluorimetrically and microscopically. Different rates of Fe uptake were found for two structurally distinct synthetic analogues, B9 and B5, which differ in their amino acid building blocks. B9 mediated uptake of Fe at a higher rate than B5. The behaviour of the fluorescent derivatives B9-Ant (anthracene-labelled B9) and B5-Ant (anthracene-labelled B5) paralleled that of their non-labelled precursors. Exposure of fungal cells to B9-Ant led to a higher increase of fluorescence in the medium than exposure to B5-Ant, indicating a more effective iron uptake from B9-Ant. By using fluorescence microscopy it was possible to trace the label of B9-Ant. Fluorescence was localized in regularly shaped vesicles in the treated cells. The rate of fluorescence appearance within the cells lagged behind the rate of iron uptake, suggesting use of the siderophores for iron storage.


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