The ferric enterobactin) receptor gene was cloned from a chromosomal library by using a screen in to detect iron-repressed genes encoding exported proteins translationally fused to the gene. The gene encoded a protein with a molecular mass of approximately 80 kDa and about 50% amino acid sequence identity to both the - and -encoded enterobactin receptors of and , respectively. Enterobactin prepared from iron-starved cultures supported growth of in the presence of the iron chelator ethylenediamine-di-(o-hydroxyphenylacetic acid) (EDDA). Expression of the gene was induced by low iron availability, and iron-regulated expression appeared to be dependent upon the presence of the sequence contained within 370 bp upstream of the structural gene. An internal fragment of the structural gene and flanking regions were shown by Southern analysis to be highly conserved among species. Insertional inactivation of in both and greatly impaired their ability to grow in the presence of enterobactin and EDDA. These findings suggest that enterobactin produced by other respiratory flora could aid in the colonization of the respiratory tract by Bordetella species.


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