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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2000 Apr;3(2):215-20.

Bacterial heme sources: the role of heme, hemoprotein receptors and hemophores.

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Unité des Membranes Bactériennes, Institut Pasteur (CNRS URA 1300), Paris Cedex 15, 75724, France.


The major mechanisms by which Gram-negative bacteria acquire heme from host heme-carrier proteins involve either direct binding to specific outer membrane receptors or release of bacterial hemophores that take up heme from host heme carriers and shuttle it back to specific receptors. The ability to interact with and remove heme from carrier proteins distinguishes heme from conceptually similar siderophore and vitamin B12 receptors. Recent genetic, biochemical and crystallization studies have started to unravel the mechanism and molecular interactions between heme-carrier proteins and components of bacterial heme assimilation systems.

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