Publications

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2014
Roe, KL, Barbeau KA.  2014.  Uptake mechanisms for inorganic iron and ferric citrate in Trichodesmium erythraeum IMS101. Metallomics. 6:2042-2051.   10.1039/c4mt00026a   AbstractWebsite

Growth of the prevalent marine organism Trichodesmium can be limited by iron in natural and laboratory settings. This study investigated the iron uptake mechanisms that the model organism T. erythraeum IMS101 uses to acquire iron from inorganic iron and iron associated with the weak ligand complex, ferric citrate. IMS101 was observed to employ two different iron uptake mechanisms: superoxide-mediated reduction of inorganic iron in the surrounding milieu and a superoxide-independent uptake system for ferric citrate complexes. While the detailed pathway of ferric citrate utilization remains to be elucidated, transport of iron from this complex appears to involve reduction and/or exchange of the iron out of the complex prior to uptake, either at the outer membrane of the cell or within the periplasmic space. Various iron uptake strategies may allow Trichodesmium to effectively scavenge iron in oligotrophic ocean environments.

2012
Roe, KL, Barbeau K, Mann EL, Haygood MG.  2012.  Acquisition of iron by Trichodesmium and associated bacteria in culture. Environmental Microbiology. 14:1681-1695.   10.1111/j.1462-2920.2011.02653.x   AbstractWebsite

Trichodesmium colonies contain an abundant microbial consortium that is likely to play a role in nutrient cycling within the colony. This study used laboratory cultures of Trichodesmium and two genome-sequenced strains of bacteria typical of Trichodesmium-associated microbes to develop an understanding of the cycling of iron, a potentially limiting micronutrient, within Trichodesmium colonies. We found that the ferric siderophores desferrioxamine B and aerobactin were not readily bioavailable to Trichodesmium, relative to ferric chloride or citrate-associated iron. In contrast, the representative bacterial strains we studied were able to acquire iron from all of the iron sources, implying that naturally occurring Trichodesmium-associated bacteria may be capable of utilizing a more diverse array of iron sources than Trichodesmium. From the organism-specific uptake data collected in this study, a theoretical Trichodesmium colony was designed to model whole colony iron uptake. The bacteria accounted for most (> 70%) of the iron acquired by the colony, highlighting the importance of determining organism-specific uptake in a complex environment. Our findings suggest that, although they may share the same micro-environment, Trichodesmium and its colony-associated microbial cohort may differ substantially in terms of iron acquisition strategy.