, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 75–81 | Cite as

The configuration of the chiral carbon atoms in staphyloferrin A and analysis of the transport properties in Staphylococcus aureus



Staphyloferrin A, the iron-transporting siderophore of Staphylococci, contains two citric acid residues linked to a D-ornithine backbone, having thus three chiral centers. While the chirality of the backbone can be determined after hydrolysis, the chirality of the two citryl residues can only be determined from the intact staphyloferrin A molecule by circular dichroism spectra. The chirality of the quarternary carbon atoms of citryl residues in fungal rhizoferrin and bacterial enantio-rhizoferrin have been determined previously to be R,R and S,S respectively. The present investigation shows that of the three chiral centers in staphyloferrin A, the citryl residues can be assigned an S,S-configuration by comparison with synthetic analogs, confirming a common chirality among the bacterial enantio-rhizoferrin and staphyloferrin A. This suggests that the bacterial carboxylates originate from a common biosynthetic pathway leading to an S,S-configuration, while the fungal rhizoferrin possessing an R,R-configuration must have a different biosynthetic origin. Growth promotion tests with staphylococci revealed that the S,S-configuration of staphyloferrin A and enantio-rhizoferrin enabled iron uptake, while the fungal rhizoferrin with R,R-configuration was not utilized.


siderophores iron staphyloferrin rhizoferrin chirality stereochemistry 


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© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Mikrobiologie, Mikrobiologie & BiotechnologieUniversität TübingenTübingenGermany

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