Petrobactin is the primary siderophore synthesized by Bacillus anthracis str. Sterne under conditions of iron starvation

Biometals. 2005 Dec;18(6):577-85. doi: 10.1007/s10534-005-1782-6.


The siderophores of Bacillus anthracis are critical for the pathogen's proliferation and may be necessary for its virulence. Bacillus anthracis str. Sterne cells were cultured in iron free media and the siderophores produced were isolated and purified using a combination of XAD-2 resin, reverse-phase FPLC, and size exclusion chromatography. A combination of 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy, UV spectroscopy and ESI-MS/MS fragmentation were used to identify the primary siderophore as petrobactin, a catecholate species containing unusual 3,4-dihydroxybenzoate moieties, previously only identified in extracts of Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus. A secondary siderophore was observed and structural analysis of this species is consistent with that reported for bacillibactin, a siderophore observed in many species of bacilli. This is the first structural characterization of a siderophore from B. anthracis, as well as the first characterization of a 3,4-DHB containing catecholate in a pathogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus anthracis / chemistry
  • Bacillus anthracis / metabolism*
  • Benzamides / chemistry
  • Benzamides / isolation & purification
  • Benzamides / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Esters / chemistry
  • Esters / isolation & purification
  • Esters / metabolism
  • Hydrolysis
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Oligopeptides / chemistry
  • Oligopeptides / isolation & purification
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Siderophores / biosynthesis*
  • Siderophores / chemistry
  • Siderophores / isolation & purification
  • Species Specificity
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods


  • Benzamides
  • Esters
  • Oligopeptides
  • Siderophores
  • bacillibactin
  • petrobactin
  • Iron