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Future Microbiol. 2015;10(5):841-51. doi: 10.2217/fmb.15.21.

An update on iron acquisition by Legionella pneumophila: new pathways for siderophore uptake and ferric iron reduction.


Iron acquisition is critical for the growth and pathogenesis of Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaires' disease. L. pneumophila utilizes two main modes of iron assimilation, namely ferrous iron uptake via the FeoB system and ferric iron acquisition through the action of the siderophore legiobactin. This review highlights recent studies concerning the mechanism of legiobactin assimilation, the impact of c-type cytochromes on siderophore production, the importance of legiobactin in lung infection and a newfound role for a bacterial pyomelanin in iron acquisition. These data demonstrate that key aspects of L. pneumophila iron acquisition are significantly distinct from those of long-studied, 'model' organisms. Indeed, L. pneumophila may represent a new paradigm for a variety of other intracellular parasites, pathogens and under-studied bacteria.


FeoB; Gram-negative bacteria; Legionella pneumophila; Legionnaires’ disease; bacterial virulence; c-type cytochromes; iron acquisition; legiobactin siderophore; pyomelanin pigment

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