Utilization of enterobactin and other exogenous iron sources by Haemophilus influenzae, H. parainfluenzae and H. paraphrophilus

J Gen Microbiol. 1990 Dec;136(12):2343-50. doi: 10.1099/00221287-136-12-2343.


The ability of Haemophilus influenzae, H. parainfluenzae and H. paraphrophilus to utilize iron complexes, iron-proteins and exogenous microbial siderophores was evaluated. In a plate bioassay, all three species used not only ferric nitrate but also the iron chelates ferric citrate, ferric nitrilotriacetate and ferric 2,3-dihydroxybenzoate. Each Haemophilus species examined also used haemin, haemoglobin and haem-albumin as iron sources although only H. influenzae could acquire iron from transferrin or from haemoglobin complexed with haptoglobin. None of the haemophili obtained iron from ferritin or lactoferrin or from the microbial siderophores aerobactin or desferrioxamine B. However, the phenolate siderophore enterobactin supplied iron to both H. parainfluenzae and H. paraphrophilus, and DNA isolated from both organisms hybridized with a DNA probe prepared from the Escherichia coli ferric enterobactin receptor gene fepA. In addition, a monospecific polyclonal antiserum raised against the E. coli 81 kDa ferric enterobactin receptor (FepA) recognized an iron-repressible outer membrane protein (OMP) in H. parainfluenzae of between 80 and 82 kDa (depending on the strain). This anti-FepA serum did not cross-react with any of the OMPs of H. paraphrophilus or H. influenzae. The OMPs of each Haemophilus species were also probed with antisera raised against the 74 kDa Cir or 74 kDa IutA (aerobactin receptor) proteins of E. coli. Apart from one H. parainfluenzae strain (NCTC 10665), in which an OMP of about 80 kDa cross-reacted with the anti-IutA sera, no cross-reactivity was observed between Cir, IutA and the OMPs of H. influenzae, H. parainfluenzae or H. paraphrophilus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cross Reactions
  • DNA Probes
  • Enterobactin / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Haemophilus / metabolism*
  • Haemophilus influenzae / genetics
  • Haemophilus influenzae / immunology
  • Haemophilus influenzae / metabolism*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron Chelating Agents / metabolism
  • Iron-Binding Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Siderophores
  • Transferrin-Binding Proteins


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA Probes
  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Iron-Binding Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Siderophores
  • Transferrin-Binding Proteins
  • enterobactin receptor
  • Enterobactin
  • Iron