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Current Opinion in Chemical Biology
Vol. 15, No: 2, 2011, Pages: 328 - 34

Recent insights into iron import by bacteria

Braun V, Hantke K

Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Bacteria are confronted with a low availability of iron owing to its insolubility in the Fe3+ form or its being bound to host proteins. The bacteria cope with the iron deficiency by using host heme or siderophores synthesized by themselves or other microbes. In contrast to most other nutrients, iron compounds are tightly bound to proteins at the cell surfaces, from which they are further translocated by highly specific proteins across the cell wall of gram-positive bacteria and the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria. Once heme and iron siderophores arrive at the cytoplasmic membrane, they are taken up across the cytoplasmic membrane by ABC transporters. Here we present an outline of bacterial heme and iron siderophore transport exemplified by a few selected cases in which recent progress in the understanding of the transport mechanisms has been achieved.




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