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Biochem Cell Biol. 2011 Apr;89(2):87-97. doi: 10.1139/o10-141.

TonB or not TonB: is that the question?

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Biochemistry Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Bacteria are able to survive in low-iron environments by sequestering this metal ion from iron-containing proteins and other biomolecules such as transferrin, lactoferrin, heme, hemoglobin, or other heme-containing proteins. In addition, many bacteria secrete specific low molecular weight iron chelators termed siderophores. These iron sources are transported into the Gram-negative bacterial cell through an outer membrane receptor, a periplasmic binding protein (PBP), and an inner membrane ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter. In different strains the outer membrane receptors can bind and transport ferric siderophores, heme, or Fe3+ as well as vitamin B12, nickel complexes, and carbohydrates. The energy that is required for the active transport of these substrates through the outer membrane receptor is provided by the TonB/ExbB/ExbD complex, which is located in the cytoplasmic membrane. In this minireview, we will briefly examine the three-dimensional structure of TonB and the current models for the mechanism of TonB-dependent energy transduction. Additionally, the role of TonB in colicin transport will be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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