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Nat Struct Biol. 1999 Jun;6(6):516-20.

The crystal structure of HasA, a hemophore secreted by Serratia marcescens.

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Laboratoire d'Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques UPR 9039, Institut de Biologie Structurale et Microbiologie, CNRS, Marseille, France.


Free iron availability is strongly limited in vertebrate hosts, making the iron acquisition by siderophores inappropriate. Pathogenic bacteria have developed various ways to use the host's iron from iron-containing proteins. Serratia marcescens can use the iron from hemoglobin through the secretion of a hemophore called HasA, which takes up the heme from hemoglobin and shuttles it to the receptor HasR, which in turn, releases heme into the bacterium. We report here the first crystal structure of such a hemophore, bound to a heme group at two different pH values and at a resolution of 1.9 A. The structure reveals a new original fold and suggests a hypothetical mechanism for both heme uptake and release.

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