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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2010 Mar;88(3):264-72. doi: 10.1139/Y10-014.

Dealing with oxidative stress and iron starvation in microorganisms: an overview.

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Department of Biochemistry, RNA Group, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC J1H 5N4, Canada.


Iron starvation and oxidative stress are 2 hurdles that bacteria must overcome to establish an infection. Pathogenic bacteria have developed many strategies to efficiently infect a broad range of hosts, including humans. The best characterized systems make use of regulatory proteins to sense the environment and adapt accordingly. For example, iron-sulfur clusters are critical for sensing the level and redox state of intracellular iron. The regulatory small RNA (sRNA) RyhB has recently been shown to play a central role in adaptation to iron starvation, while the sRNA OxyS coordinates cellular response to oxidative stress. These regulatory sRNAs are well conserved in many bacteria and have been shown to be essential for establishing a successful infection. An overview of the different strategies used by bacteria to cope with iron starvation and oxidative stress is presented here.

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