Iron acquisition system of Sphingobium sp. strain SYK-6, a degrader of lignin-derived aromatic compounds

Sci Rep. 2020 Jul 22;10(1):12177. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-68984-2.


Iron, an essential element for all organisms, acts as a cofactor of enzymes in bacterial degradation of recalcitrant aromatic compounds. The bacterial family, Sphingomonadaceae comprises various degraders of recalcitrant aromatic compounds; however, little is known about their iron acquisition system. Here, we investigated the iron acquisition system in a model bacterium capable of degrading lignin-derived aromatics, Sphingobium sp. strain SYK-6. Analyses of SYK-6 mutants revealed that FiuA (SLG_34550), a TonB-dependent receptor (TBDR), was the major outer membrane iron transporter. Three other TBDRs encoded by SLG_04340, SLG_04380, and SLG_10860 also participated in iron uptake, and tonB2 (SLG_34540), one of the six tonB comprising the Ton complex which enables TBDR-mediated transport was critical for iron uptake. The ferrous iron transporter FeoB (SLG_36840) played an important role in iron uptake across the inner membrane. The promoter activities of most of the iron uptake genes were induced under iron-limited conditions, and their regulation is controlled by SLG_29410 encoding the ferric uptake regulator, Fur. Although feoB, among all the iron uptake genes identified is highly conserved in Sphingomonad strains, the outer membrane transporters seem to be diversified. Elucidation of the iron acquisition system promises better understanding of the bacterial degradation mechanisms of aromatic compounds.