The mechanism(s) used by Haemophilus influenzae to acquire the essential nutrient heme from its human host has not been elucidated. The heme carried by the high-affinity serum protein hemopexin is one potential source of this micronutrient in vivo. A colony-blot assay revealed that heme-human hemopexin-binding activity was shared among most capsular serotype b strains of H. influenzae but was uncommon among other strains. We have identified a recombinant clone binding heme-human hemopexin from a H. influenzae type b (Hib) genomic library expressed in Escherichia coli. Both the Hib strain and the heme-hemopexin-binding clone expressed a polypeptide of ≃100 kDa that bound radiolabeled heme-hemopexin. Oligonucleotide linker insertion mutagenesis of the plasmid DNA from this recombinant clone was used to confirm that expression of the 100-kDa protein correlated with the heme- hemopexin-binding activity. Exchange of one of these mutant alleles into the Hib chromosome eliminated expression of both the 100-kDa protein and the heme-hemopexin-binding activity. Furthermore, this Hib mutant was unable to utilize heme-human hemopexin as a heme source.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - 1992|
- bacterial pathogenesis
- heme acquisition
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