Summary: The haemin storage (Hms) phenotype of enables this bacillus to form greenish/brown or red colonies on haemin or Congo Red agar plates, respectively, at 26 but not 37 °C. strains that contain mutations in genes essential for siderophore biosynthesis, porphyrin generation and/or haemin transport remain unable to utilize exogenous haemin as a nutritional iron or porphyrin source when transformed with the cloned locus. Further physiological analysis of the Hmsphenotype of strain KIM6+ suggests that the haemin and inorganic iron stored by the Hms system was not used nutritionally under subsequent iron-deficient conditions. analysis of the bactericidal effects of hydrogen peroxide, superoxide and nitric oxide showed that Hms cells, in certain cases, were more susceptible than the Hmsparent cells to these reactive oxygen species at 26 and/or 37 °C. In adherence assays, a higher percentage of Hmscells were associated with HeLa cells and normal human neutrophils, compared to Hmscells. However, the Hmsphenotype did not provide any additional protection against the killing effects of neutrophils. Finally, LD analysis in subcutaneously infected mice showed that an Hmsstrain was slightly more virulent than Hms, indicating that the Hms phenotype is not essential for the pathogenesis of bubonic plague in mammals.


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