An overview of siderophores for iron acquisition in microorganisms living in the extreme

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Siderophores are iron-chelating molecules produced by microbes when intracellular iron concentrations are low. Low iron triggers a cascade of gene activation, allowing the cell to survive due to the synthesis of important proteins involved in siderophore synthesis and transport. Generally, siderophores are classified by their functional groups as catecholates, hydroxamates and hydroxycarboxylates. Although other chemical structural modifications and functional groups can be found. The functional groups participate in the iron-chelating process when the ferri-siderophore complex is formed. Classified as acidophiles, alkaliphiles, halophiles, thermophiles, psychrophiles, piezophiles, extremophiles have particular iron requirements depending on the environmental conditions in where they grow. Most of the work done in siderophore production by extremophiles is based in siderophore concentration and/or genomic studies determining the presence of siderophore synthesis and transport genes. Siderophores produced by extremophiles are not well known and more work needs to be done to elucidate chemical structures and their role in microorganism survival and metal cycling in extreme environments.




De Serrano LO, Camper AK, Richards AM “An overview of siderophores for iron acquisition in microorganisms living in the extreme,” Biometals,2016 Aug;29(4):551–71.
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