The ferric iron-binding protein of pathogenic Neisseria spp. functions as a periplasmic transport protein in iron acquisition from human transferrin

Mol Microbiol. 1993 Oct;10(2):311-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1993.tb01957.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron Radioisotopes
  • Iron-Binding Proteins
  • Models, Biological
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / metabolism*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / pathogenicity
  • Periplasmic Binding Proteins
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Transferrin / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Iron Radioisotopes
  • Iron-Binding Proteins
  • Periplasmic Binding Proteins
  • Transferrin
  • Iron