Genome-wide expression analysis of iron regulation in Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei using DNA microarrays

Apichai Tuanyok, H. Stanley Kim, William C. Nierman, Yan Yu, John Dunbar, Richard A. Moore, Patricia Baker, Marina Tom, Jessmi M.L. Ling, Donald E. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei are the causative agents of melioidosis and glanders, respectively. As iron regulation of gene expression is common in bacteria, in the present studies, we have used microarray analysis to examine the effects of growth in different iron concentrations on the regulation of gene expression in B. pseudomallei and B. mallei. Gene expression profiles for these two bacterial species were similar under high and low iron growth conditions irrespective of growth phase. Growth in low iron led to reduced expression of genes encoding most respiratory metabolic systems and proteins of putative function, such as NADH-dehydrogenases, cytochrome oxidases, and ATP-synthases. In contrast, genes encoding siderophore-mediated iron transport, heme-hemin receptors, and a variety of metabolic enzymes for alternative metabolism were induced under low iron conditions. The overall gene expression profiles suggest that B. pseudomallei and B. mallei are able to adapt to the iron-restricted conditions in the host environment by up-regulating an iron-acquisition system and by using alternative metabolic pathways for energy production. The observations relative to the induction of specific metabolic enzymes during bacterial growth under low iron conditions warrants further experimentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
JournalFEMS microbiology letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Nov 15
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Grant MOP-36343 to D.E.W. and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease grants R01AI50565 and R01AI056006 to W.C.N. D.E.W. is a Canada Research Chair in Microbiology. We wish to thank the staff at the Southern Alberta Microarray Facilities for technical support, and we also thank Paige Pardington and Dr. Robert Cary at Los Alamos National Laboratory for printing the B. pseudomallei whole genome microarray (supported by a Los Alamos Research and Development grant to J.D.).


  • B. mallei
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • Iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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