The ferric iron-binding protein (Fbp) expressed by pathogenic Neisseria spp. has been proposed to play a central role in the high-affinity acquisition of iron from human transferrin. The results of this investigation provide evidence that Fbp participates in this process as a functional analogue of a Gram-negative periplasmic-binding protein component, which operates as a part of a general active transport process for the receptor-mediated, high-affinity transport of iron from human transferrin. Known properties of Fbp are correlated with those of other well-characterized periplasmic-binding proteins, including structural features and the reversible binding of ligand. Predictive of a periplasmic-binding protein, which functions in the high-affinity acquisition of iron, is that Fbp is a transient participant in the process of iron acquisition from human transferrin. Evidence for this is demonstrated by results of pulse-chase experiments. Taken together, the data described here and elsewhere suggest that pathogenic Neisseria spp. use a periplasmic-binding protein-mediated active transport mechanism for the acquisition of iron from human transferrin.