Yersinia ironomics: Comparison of iron transporters among Yersinia pestis biotypes and its nearest neighbor, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis

Stanislav Forman, James T. Paulley, Jacqueline D. Fetherston, Yi Qiang Cheng, Robert D. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Although Yersinia pestis epidemic biovars and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis are recently diverged, highly related species, they cause different diseases via disparate transmission routes. Since iron transport systems are important for iron acquisition from hosts and for survival in the environment, we have analyzed potential iron transport systems encoded by epidemic and non-epidemic or endemic strains of Y. pestis as well as two virulent Y. pseudotuberculosis strains. Computational biology analysis of these genomes showed a high degree of identity/similarity among 16 proven or possible iron/heme transporters identified. Of these, 7 systems were essentially the same in all seven genomes analyzed. The remaining 9 loci had 2-6 genetic variations among these genomes. Two untested, potential siderophore-dependent systems appear intact in Y. pseudotuberculosis but are disrupted or absent in all the endemic Y. pestis strains as well as the epidemic strains from the antiqua and mediaevalis biovars. Only one of these two loci are obviously disrupted in Y. pestis CO92 (epidemic orientalis biovar). Experimental studies failed to identify a role for hemin uptake systems in the virulence of pneumonic plague and suggest that Y. pestis CO92 does not make a siderophore other than Ybt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-294
Number of pages20
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2010



  • Heme transport
  • Iron transport
  • Plague
  • Siderophore
  • Yersinia pestis
  • Yersinia pseudotuberculosis
  • Yersiniabactin

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