Control of Iron Metabolism in Bacteria

Part of the Metal Ions in Life Sciences book series (MILS, volume 12)


Bacteria depend upon iron as a vital cofactor that enables a wide range of key metabolic activities. Bacteria must therefore ensure a balanced supply of this essential metal. To do so, they invest considerable resourse into its acquisition and employ elaborate control mechanisms to eleviate both iron-induced toxitiy as well as iron deficiency. This chapter describes the processes that bacteria engage in maintaining iron homeostasis. The focus is Escherichia coli, as this bacterium provides a well studied example. A summary of the current status of understanding of iron management at the ‘omics’ level is also presented.


ferritin Fur iron regulation iron transport metallome metalloproteome RyhB 



ATP-binding cassette


adenosine 5¢-triphosphate


Bfr-associated ferredoxin




DNA-binding protein from starved cells


diphteria toxin regulator


extracytoplasmic function


electron paramagnetic resonance


ferric binding protein




ferric uptake regulation protein


guanosine 5¢-diphosphate


guanosine 5¢-triphosphate


histone-like nucleoid structuring protein


inner membrane


iron-regulated transporter


iron-regulated surface determinant




NEAr (iron) transporter


natural resistance-associated macrophage protein


non-ribosomal peptide synthetase




ribonucleotide reductase


superoxide dismutase


small regulatory RNA


twin arginine translocation


tricarboxylic acid cycle


transferrin-binding protein


ZRT,IRT-like proteins


zinc-regulated transporters



We thank the University of Reading, Diamond Light Source Ltd, the Felix Foundation, the Egyptian Government, and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research for studentship funding.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The School of Biological SciencesThe University of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.Department of Bioengineering Sciences, Research Group Microbiology, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology VIB6Vrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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