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Nat Prod Rep. 2010 May;27(5):637-57. doi: 10.1039/b906679a.

Chemistry and biology of siderophores.

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Division of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College, London, SE1 9NH, UK.


Siderophores are compounds produced by bacteria, fungi and graminaceous plants for scavenging iron from the environment. They are low-molecular-weight compounds (500-1500 daltons) possessing a high affinity for iron(III) (Kf > 1030), the biosynthesis of which is regulated by iron levels and the function of which is to supply iron to the cell. This article briefly describes the classification and chemical properties of siderophores, before outlining research on siderophore biosynthesis and transport. Clinically important siderophores and the therapeutic potential of siderophore design are described. Appendix 1 provides a comprehensive list of siderophore structures.

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