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Eur J Biochem. 1993 Feb 1;211(3):635-41.

Reduction and mobilization of iron by a NAD(P)H:flavin oxidoreductase from Escherichia coli.

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Laboratoire d'Etudes Dynamiques et Structurales de la Selectivité, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France.


Iron is an essential element in all living cells. Solubilization, uptake and transport of iron by microorganisms is controlled by highly efficient and specific Fe(3+)-chelating agents named siderophores. However, mechanisms of mobilization of iron from ferrisiderophores are still enigmatic. Here, we demonstrate that Escherichia coli contains a powerful enzymatic system for the reduction of ferrisiderophores. Siderophores have a much lower affinity for ferrous iron, which then can be liberated. This system has been previously purified and characterized as a NAD(P)H:flavin oxidoreductase [Fontecave, M., Eliasson, R. and Reichard, P. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 12,325-12,331)]. It catalyzes the reduction of free flavins, FMN, FAD or riboflavin by NADH or NADPH. Reduced flavins, in turn, transfer their electrons to physiological ferric complexes: ferrisiderophores, ferric citrate and ferritins. The reaction is inhibited by molecular oxygen and greatly stimulated by Fe(2+)-acceptors such as ferrozine or the iron-free form of ribonucleotide reductase subunit R2. We suggest that the reduction and the mobilization of iron from ferrisiderophores in the cell might be regulated by the presence of physiological ferrous traps such as apoproteins.

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