, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 433–450 | Cite as

Restoration of growth by manganese in a mutant strain of Escherichia coli lacking most known iron and manganese uptake systems

  • Nadine Taudte
  • Nadezhda German
  • Yong-Guan Zhu
  • Gregor Grass
  • Christopher Rensing


The interplay of manganese and iron homeostasis and oxidative stress in Escherichia coli can give important insights into survival of bacteria in the phagosome and under differing iron or manganese bioavailabilities. Here, we characterized a mutant strain devoid of all know iron/manganese-uptake systems relevant for growth in defined medium. Based on these results an exit strategy enabling the cell to cope with iron depletion and use of manganese as an alternative for iron could be shown. Such a strategy would also explain why E. coli harbors some iron- or manganese-dependent iso-enzymes such as superoxide dismutases or ribonucleotide reductases. The benefits for gaining a means for survival would be bought with the cost of less efficient metabolism as indicated in our experiments by lower cell densities with manganese than with iron. In addition, this strain was extremely sensitive to the metalloid gallium but this gallium toxicity can be alleviated by low concentrations of manganese.


Iron Manganese SOD Gallium 






This work was supported by start-up funds at the University of Copenhagen for C.R. and by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft by Grant GR2061/1-2 to G. G. We thank Grit Schleuder for skilful technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadine Taudte
    • 1
  • Nadezhda German
    • 2
  • Yong-Guan Zhu
    • 3
  • Gregor Grass
    • 1
    • 4
  • Christopher Rensing
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute for Biology/MicrobiologyMartin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical SciencesTexas Tech Health Science CenterAmarilloUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina
  4. 4.Bundeswehr Institute of MicrobiologyMunichGermany
  5. 5.Department of Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksbergDenmark

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