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Iron Uptake in Ustilago maydis: Tracking the Iron Path

  • Orly Ardon
  • Raphael Nudelman
  • Catherine Caris
  • Jacqueline Libman
  • Abraham Shanzer
  • Yona Chen
  • Yitzhak Hadar
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Apr 01, 1998


In this study, we monitored and compared the uptake of iron in the fungus Ustilago maydis by using biomimetic siderophore analogs of ferrichrome, the fungal native siderophore, and ferrioxamine B (FOB), a xenosiderophore. Ferrichrome-iron was taken up at a higher rate than FOB-iron. Unlike ferrichrome-mediated uptake, FOB-mediated iron transport involved an extracellular reduction mechanism. By using fluorescently labeled siderophore analogs, we monitored the time course, as well as the localization, of iron uptake processes within the fungal cells. A fluorescently labeled ferrichrome analog, B9-lissamine rhodamine B, which does not exhibit fluorescence quenching upon iron binding, was used to monitor the entry of the compounds into the fungal cells. The fluorescence was found intracellularly 4 h after the application and later was found concentrated in two to three vesicles within each cell. The fluorescence of the fluorescently labeled FOB analog CAT18, which is quenched by iron, was visualized around the cell membrane after 4 h of incubation with the ferrated (nonfluorescent) compounds. This fluorescence intensity increased with time, demonstrating fungal iron uptake from the siderophores, which remained extracellular. We here introduce the use of fluorescent biomimetic siderophores as tools to directly track and discriminate between different pathways of iron uptake in cells.

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