Beware of proteins bearing gifts: protein antibiotics that use iron as a Trojan horse

Grinter, R., Milner, J. and Walker, D. (2013) Beware of proteins bearing gifts: protein antibiotics that use iron as a Trojan horse. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 338(1), pp. 1-9. (doi: 10.1111/1574-6968.12011)

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Multicellular organisms limit the availability of free iron to prevent the utilisation of this essential nutrient by microbial pathogens. As such, bacterial pathogens possess a variety of mechanisms for obtaining iron from their hosts, including a number of examples of vertebrate pathogens that obtain iron directly from host proteins. Recently two novel members of the colicin M bacteriocin family were discovered in Pectobacterium that suggest that this phytopathogen possesses such a system. These bacteriocins (pectocin M1 and M2) consist of a cytotoxic domain homologous to that of colicin M fused to a horizontally acquired plant-like ferredoxin. This ferredoxin domain substitutes the portion of colicin M required for receptor binding and translocation, presumably fulfilling this role by parasitizing an existing ferredoxin based iron acquisition pathway. The ability of susceptible strains of Pectobacterium to utilise plant ferredoxin as an iron-source was also demonstrated, providing additional evidence for the existence of such a system. If this hypothesis is correct, it represents the first example of iron piracy directly from a host protein by a phytopathogen and serves as a testament of the flexibility of evolution in creating new bacteriocin specificities.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Walker, Professor Daniel and Milner, Dr Joel and Grinter, Mr Rhys
Authors: Grinter, R., Milner, J., and Walker, D.
Subjects:Q Science > QR Microbiology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:FEMS Microbiology Letters
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ISSN (Online):1574-6968
Published Online:19 October 2012

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