Lactoferrin--a multifunctional protein with antimicrobial properties

Mol Immunol. 2003 Nov;40(7):395-405. doi: 10.1016/s0161-5890(03)00152-4.


Lactoferrin is a member of the transferrin family of iron-binding proteins. Numerous functions have been reported and continue to be reported for the protein, some of which are related to its iron-binding properties. Its extensive antimicrobial activities were originally attributed to its ability to sequester essential iron, however, it is now established that it possesses bactericidal activities as a result of a direct interaction between the protein or lactoferrin-derived peptides. This article reviews the antimicrobial activities of lactoferrin and discusses the potential mode of action of lactoferrin-derived cationic peptides against Gram-negative bacteria in the light of recent studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Lactoferrin / metabolism*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Iron
  • Lactoferrin