Expression of iron binding proteins and hemin binding activity in the dental pathogen Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1998 Jun 15;163(2):135-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1998.tb13037.x.


Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans was found to express a polypeptide immunologically related to the Neisseria gonorrhoeae FbpA iron binding protein. In addition, the expression of hitB and hitC homologs was detected by Northern blot analysis. This periodontal pathogen also expresses a polypeptide homologous to the 31-kDa Haemophilus influenzae protein, which shows amino acid sequence homology with the FimA and YfeA proteins from Streptococcus parasanguis and Yersinia pestis, respectively. Both A. actinomycetemcomitans protein homologs were located within the periplasmic space, and their synthesis was regulated by the iron and hemin concentration of the culture medium. Southern and Western blot analysis together with molecular cloning revealed the presence of a Fur-like repressor, which may control the iron regulation of gene expression in this bacterium. Cultivation in the presence of hemin or Congo red revealed the ability of this organism to bind hemin. This binding activity was further confirmed by isolating Escherichia coli DH5 alpha clones that produced red and brown colonies on agar plates containing Congo red and hemin, respectively, after transformation with an A. actinomycetemcomitans gene library.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans / genetics
  • Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carrier Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Congo Red / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Fimbriae Proteins*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Haemophilus influenzae / genetics
  • Haemophilus influenzae / metabolism
  • Heme-Binding Proteins
  • Hemeproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Hemeproteins / genetics
  • Hemin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron-Binding Proteins
  • Periodontitis / microbiology
  • Periplasmic Binding Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Heme-Binding Proteins
  • Hemeproteins
  • Iron-Binding Proteins
  • Periplasmic Binding Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • ferric uptake regulating proteins, bacterial
  • fimbrillin
  • Fimbriae Proteins
  • Congo Red
  • Hemin
  • Iron