The ins and outs of bacterial iron metabolism

Mol Microbiol. 2014 Aug;93(4):609-16. doi: 10.1111/mmi.12709. Epub 2014 Jul 22.


Iron is a critical nutrient for the growth and survival of most bacterial species. Accordingly, much attention has been paid to the mechanisms by which host organisms sequester iron from invading bacteria and how bacteria acquire iron from their environment. However, under oxidative stress conditions such as those encountered within phagocytic cells during the host immune response, iron is released from proteins and can act as a catalyst for Fenton chemistry to produce cytotoxic reactive oxygen species. The transitory efflux of free intracellular iron may be beneficial to bacteria under such conditions. The recent discovery of putative iron efflux transporters in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is discussed in the context of cellular iron homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Homeostasis*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Salmonella Infections / immunology
  • Salmonella Infections / metabolism*
  • Salmonella Infections / microbiology
  • Salmonella typhimurium / metabolism*


  • Iron