Shared and distinct mechanisms of iron acquisition by bacterial and fungal pathogens of humans

Mélissa Caza, James W Kronstad
Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology 2013, 3: 80
Iron is the most abundant transition metal in the human body and its bioavailability is stringently controlled. In particular, iron is tightly bound to host proteins such as transferrin to maintain homeostasis, to limit potential damage caused by iron toxicity under physiological conditions and to restrict access by pathogens. Therefore, iron acquisition during infection of a human host is a challenge that must be surmounted by every successful pathogenic microorganism. Iron is essential for bacterial and fungal physiological processes such as DNA replication, transcription, metabolism, and energy generation via respiration. Hence, pathogenic bacteria and fungi have developed sophisticated strategies to gain access to iron from host sources. Indeed, siderophore production and transport, iron acquisition from heme and host iron-containing proteins such as hemoglobin and transferrin, and reduction of ferric to ferrous iron with subsequent transport are all strategies found in bacterial and fungal pathogens of humans. This review focuses on a comparison of these strategies between bacterial and fungal pathogens in the context of virulence and the iron limitation that occurs in the human body as a mechanism of innate nutritional defense.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"