J Bacteriol Virol.  2013 Sep;43(3):168-176. 10.4167/jbv.2013.43.3.168.

Multiple High-affinity Iron-uptake Systems of Vibrio vulnificus

  • 1Department of Microbiology, Chosun University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea. shsin@chosun.ac.kr


Vibrio vulnificus is a Gram-negative halophilic bacterium that causes necrotizing wound infections and fatal septicemia, which mainly occur in patients with elevated serum or tissue iron levels. Accumulated experimental data clearly show that V. vulnificus is a ferrophilic bacterium that requires more available iron for growth than other pathogenic bacteria, has multiple iron-uptake systems, which play important roles in the pathogenesis of the V. vulnificus infections. This review summarized the composition, regulation and significance of V. vulnificus iron-uptake systems. These iron-uptake systems may be attractive candidates for the development of V. vulnificus vaccine. Iron-chelating therapy can also be a promising modality for the prevention and treatment of V. vulnificus infections.


V. vulnificus; Iron; Iron-uptake system; Iron chelation

MeSH Terms

Vibrio vulnificus
Wound Infection


  • Figure 1. The five iron-uptake systems (IUS) of Vibrio vulnificus. Vulnibactin (VuuA)-mediated IUS (purple), hydroxamate siderophore-mediated IUS (white; the question mark means “unknown yet.”), heme receptor (HupA)-mediated IUS (deep blue), aerobactin receptor (IutA)-mediated IUS (sky blue), and Ferrioxamine B receptor (DesA)-mediated IUS (green).

  • Figure 2. Coordinate regulation of hupA expression by cyclic AMP-receptor protein (CRP) as an activator and ferric uptake regulator (Fur) as a repressor. (A) High glucose prevents the binding of CRP and high iron facilitates the binding of Fur, resulting in the repression of hupA expression. (B) High glucose prevents the binding of CRP but low iron prevents the binding of Fur, resulting in the low induction (or de-repression) of hupA expression. (C) Low glucose facilitates the binding of CRP but high iron facilitates the binding of Fur, resulting in the repression of hupA expression. (D) Low glucose facilitates the binding of CRP and low iron prevents the binding of Fur, resulting in the high induction (or de-repression) of hupA expression. RNAP (RNA polymerase) and ORF (open reading frame). Quoted from the reference 23.


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