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Mol Microbiol. 1989 Sep;3(9):1301-6.

Iron and virulence in Shigella.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Texas, Austin 78712.


Iron limitation, a condition encountered within mammalian hosts, induces the synthesis of a number of proteins in pathogenic Shigella species. These include several outer membrane proteins, Shiga toxin, and proteins involved in the biosynthesis and transport of high-affinity iron-binding compounds or siderophores. Although siderophores have been shown to play a major role in the virulence of some bacterial pathogens, these compounds do not appear to be essential for the virulence of Shigella species. Unlike those pathogens which are restricted to the extracellular compartments of the host, the Shigella species invade and multiply within host cells. Alternative iron-acquisition systems, such as the ability to utilize haem-iron, permit growth of the intracellular bacteria. Virulent shigellae also possess a cell-surface haem-binding protein, and synthesis of this protein correlates with infectivity and virulence. This protein does not appear to be involved in iron acquisition. Rather, it may allow the bacteria to coat themselves with haem compounds, thus enhancing their ability to interact with target host cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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