Regulation of alkyl-dihydrothiazole-carboxylates (ATCs) by iron and the pyochelin gene cluster in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

ACS Chem Biol. 2009 Aug 21;4(8):617-23. doi: 10.1021/cb900075n.


Using the pyochelin (pch) gene cluster as an example, we demonstrate the utility of untargeted metabolomics in the discovery and characterization of secondary metabolites regulated by biosynthetic gene clusters. Comparison of the extracellular metabolomes of pch gene cluster mutants to the wild-type Pseudomonas aeruginosa (strain PA 14) identified 198 ions regulated by the pch genes. In addition to known metabolites, we characterized the structure of a pair of novel metabolites regulated by the pch gene cluster as 2-alkyl-4,5-dihydrothiazole-4-carboxylates (ATCs), using a combination of mass spectrometry, chemical synthesis, and stable isotope labeling. Subsequent assays revealed that ATCs bind iron and are regulated by iron levels in the media in a similar fashion as other metabolites associated with the pch gene cluster. Further genetic complementation and overexpression analyses of the pch genes revealed ATC production to be dependent on the pchE gene in the pch gene cluster. Overall, these studies highlight the ability of untargeted metabolomics to reveal regulatory connections between gene clusters and secondary metabolites, including novel metabolites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carboxylic Acids / chemistry
  • Carboxylic Acids / metabolism*
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolomics
  • Molecular Structure
  • Multigene Family*
  • Mutation
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phenols / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism*
  • Thiazoles / chemistry
  • Thiazoles / metabolism*


  • Carboxylic Acids
  • Phenols
  • Thiazoles
  • pyochelin
  • Iron