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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2002 Jun;26(2):173-86.

The role of iron in Campylobacter gene regulation, metabolism and oxidative stress defense.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus Medical Center, Dr. Molewaterplein 40, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Enteric Campylobacter species cause gastrointestinal diseases in humans. Like almost all organisms, campylobacters have an absolute requirement for iron, but are faced with variable availability of iron in the environment and host tissues. Campylobacters have developed mechanisms to scavenge sufficient iron for metabolism and growth. However, iron also participates in the formation of reactive oxygen species, and this forces pathogens to maintain intracellular iron homeostasis and to cope with oxidative stresses. The presence of two separate, but possibly overlapping iron-responsive regulatory systems, which regulate iron acquisition and oxidative stress defense, and the presence of genes encoding multiple iron acquisition and detoxification systems in Campylobacter indicate the central role that iron plays in Campylobacter gene regulation and virulence.

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