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Future Microbiol. 2013 Dec;8(12):1575-85. doi: 10.2217/fmb.13.125.

Bacterial receptors for host transferrin and lactoferrin: molecular mechanisms and role in host-microbe interactions.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases, Health Sciences Centre, 3330 Hospital Drive Northwest Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4N1, Canada.


Iron homeostasis in the mammalian host limits the availability of iron to invading pathogens and is thought to restrict iron availability for microbes inhabiting mucosal surfaces. The presence of surface receptors for the host iron-binding glycoproteins transferrin (Tf) and lactoferrin (Lf) in globally important Gram-negative bacterial pathogens of humans and food production animals suggests that Tf and Lf are important sources of iron in the upper respiratory or genitourinary tracts, where they exclusively reside. Lf receptors have the additional function of protecting against host cationic antimicrobial peptides, suggesting that the bacteria expressing these receptors reside in a niche where exposure is likely. In this review we compare Tf and Lf receptors with respect to their structural and functional features, their role in colonization and infection, and their distribution among pathogenic and commensal bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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