Iron uptake and metabolism in pseudomonads

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 May;86(6):1637-45. doi: 10.1007/s00253-010-2550-2. Epub 2010 Mar 30.


Pseudomonads are ubiquitous Gram-negative gamma proteobacteria known for their extreme versatility and adaptability. Some are plant pathogens (Pseudomonas syringae) which have to survive on the surface of leaves while others can colonize the rhizosphere or survive in soil (Pseudomonas fluorescens, Pseudomonas putida), and one species, Pseudomonas entomophila, is an insect pathogen. The most investigated species, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is known to be an opportunistic pathogen able to infect plants, nematodes, insects, and mammals, including humans. Like for other bacteria, iron is a key nutrient for pseudomonads. The fluorescent pseudomonads produce siderophores, the best known being the fluorescent high-affinity peptidic pyoverdines. Often diverse secondary siderophores of lower affinity are produced as well (pyochelin, pseudomonin, corrugatins and ornicorrugatins, yersiniabactin, and thioquinolobactin). Reflecting their large capacity of adaptation to changing environment and niche colonization, pseudomonads are able to obtain their iron from heme or from siderophores produced by other microorganisms (xenosiderophores) via the expression of outer membrane TonB-dependent receptors. As expected, iron uptake is exquisitely and hierarchically regulated in these bacteria. In this short review, the diversity of siderophores produced, receptors, and finally the way iron homeostasis is regulated in P. aeruginosa, P. syringae, P. putida, and P. fluorescens, will be presented and, when possible, put in relation with the lifestyle and the ecological niche.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Ferric Compounds / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism
  • Porins / chemistry
  • Porins / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Siderophores / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Oligopeptides
  • Porins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Siderophores
  • tonB protein, Bacteria
  • pyoverdin
  • Iron