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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2004 Dec;2(12):946-53.

Iron and microbial infection.

Author information

  • 1Max-Planck-Institute for Infection Biology, Department of Immunology, Schumannstrasse 21-22, D-10117, Berlin, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Mar;3(3):268.


The use of iron as a cofactor in basic metabolic pathways is essential to both pathogenic microorganisms and their hosts. It is also a pivotal component of the innate immune response through its role in the generation of toxic oxygen and nitrogen intermediates. During evolution, the shared requirement of micro- and macroorganisms for this important nutrient has shaped the pathogen-host relationship. Here, we discuss how pathogens compete with the host for iron, and also how the host uses iron to counteract this threat.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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