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Iron Homeostasis in Bacillus subtilis Requires Siderophore Production and Biofilm Formation.


ABSTRACT: Iron (Fe) is the most important metal in biology. Despite its abundance, Fe is mostly present as a ferric form in soils, strongly limiting its bioavailability. To overcome the challenge of Fe acquisition, many microorganisms produce siderophores to retrieve Fe from natural sources. Another ubiquitous feature of bacteria in natural environments is biofilm formation. Previous studies showed that external Fe strongly influenced biofilm formation in several bacteria, suggesting that this microenvironment plays a mechanistic role in micronutrient acquisition for bacteria. Here, we applied a complementary set of analytical methods and deletion mutants to evaluate the role of biofilm formation, siderophore production, and their interaction in Fe homeostasis in Bacillus subtilis We observed that Fe homeostasis, i.e., active growth at a constant intracellular Fe concentration, requires both siderophore production and biofilm formation. Also, we report that in B. subtilis, both biofilm formation and siderophore production are required to achieve active Fe acquisition from the medium and to sustain normal growth. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the formation of biofilm slightly enhances the kinetics of Fe complexation by catechol siderophores and markedly improves siderophore use efficiency. These results provide new perspectives on the mechanism underlying siderophore-based acquisition of Fe in biofilm-forming bacteria.IMPORTANCE Iron acquisition is of fundamental importance for microorganisms, since this metal is generally poorly bioavailable under natural conditions. In the environment, most bacteria are found tightly packed within multicellular communities named biofilms. Here, using the soil Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis, we show that biofilm formation and the production of siderophores, i.e., small molecules specifically binding metals, are both essential to ensure Fe uptake from the medium and maintain cellular Fe homeostasis. The biofilm matrix appears to play an important role favoring the efficient usage of siderophores. Taken together, our results demonstrate a close link between biofilm formation and iron acquisition in B. subtilis, allowing a better comprehension of how bacteria can cope with metal limitation under environmental conditions.

SUBMITTER: Rizzi A 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6344612 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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