Absence of ZnuABC-mediated zinc uptake affects virulence-associated phenotypes of uropathogenic Escherichia coli CFT073 under Zn(II)-depleted conditions

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Nov;300(1):36-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01762.x. Epub 2009 Aug 19.


In an effort to uncover the role of the high-affinity Zn(II) uptake system in uropathogenic Escherichia coli CFT073, we deleted the znuB gene, which encodes for the transmembrane component of the ZnuABC transporter system. The null mutant for znuB did not grow on minimal medium unless supplemented with excess Zn(II) (50 muM ZnCl(2)). In contrast, the E. coli K-12 DeltaznuB cell line grew well on minimal medium that was not supplemented with Zn(II). The DeltaznuB mutant was significantly deficient in the formation of biofilm under static conditions and also showed a substantially reduced migration front of swarm cells. Because motility and biofilm formation are important for E. coli CFT073 pathogenicity, we propose that the high-affinity Zn(II) uptake system may contribute to the virulence of this pathogen in the urinary tract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Biological Transport
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Uropathogenic Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Uropathogenic Escherichia coli / pathogenicity*
  • Uropathogenic Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Virulence
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • ZnuB protein, E coli
  • Zinc