Two ABC Transporters and a Periplasmic Metallochaperone Participate in Zinc Acquisition in Paracoccus Denitrificans
Bacteria must acquire the essential element zinc from extremely limited environments, and this function is performed largely by ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters. These systems rely on a periplasmic or extracellular solute binding protein (SBP) to bind zinc specifically with a high affinity and deliver it to the membrane permease for import into the cytoplasm. However, zinc acquisition systems in bacteria may be more complex, involving multiple transporters and other periplasmic or extracellular zinc binding proteins. Here we describe the zinc acquisition functions of two zinc SBPs (ZnuA and AztC) and a novel periplasmic metallochaperone (AztD) in Paracoccus denitrificans. ZnuA was characterized in vitro and demonstrated to bind as many as 5 zinc ions with a high affinity. It does not interact with AztD, in contrast to what has been demonstrated for AztC, which is able to acquire a single zinc ion through associative transfer from AztD. Deletions of the corresponding genes singly and in combination show that either AztC or ZnuA is sufficient and essential for robust growth in zinc-limited media. Although AztD cannot support transport of zinc into the cytoplasm, it likely functions to store zinc in the periplasm for transfer through the AztABCD system.