Iron acquisition by Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale

Louisa B. Tabatabai, Emilie S. Zehr, Mandy K. Zimmerli, Kakambi V. Nagaraja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT) is an emerging respiratory pathogen of poultry in North America that is causing millions of dollars in economic losses to the poultry industry. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale is associated with airsacculitis, pleuritis, pneumonia, and consolidation of lungs. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms of infection. In this study, the mechanism of iron acquisition by O. rhinotracheale was explored. O. rhinotracheale strains grown under iron deprivation in media containing 200 μM 2,2′-dipyridyl did not secrete siderophores as measured by the chrome azurol S (CAS) agar and CAS solution assays. Filter disks impregnated with various protein-bound iron compounds and inorganic iron salts of Fe(III) and Fe(II) placed on iron-restricted agar inoculated with a lawn of O. rhinotracheale supported growth from sheep and porcine hemoglobins, ovotransferrin, Fe(III), and Fe(II), but they did not support growth from bovine transferrin, bovine apo-transferrin, bovine lactoferrin, and hemin. However, both bovine hemoglobin and transferrin supported growth of O. rhinotracheale serotype C. Four immunoreactive proteins involved in iron acquisition were identified in an O. rhinotracheale membrane extract by using mass spectrometry. Furthermore, O. rhinotracheale field strains showed differential sensitivity to 2,2′-dipyridyl. Of the 72 field strains tested, 22 strains were resistant to the iron chelator at concentrations of 50 μM and 100 μM, suggesting this attribute may be related to disease-producing potential of these strains. This is the first report on the identification of the iron acquisition mechanism of O. rhinotracheale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-425
Number of pages7
JournalAvian diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Iron acquisition
  • Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale
  • Outer membrane proteins


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