Siderophore‐Mediated microbial iron(III) uptake: An exercise in chiral recognition

A. Shanzer*, J. Libman, P. Yakirevitch, Y. Hadar, Y. Chen, E. Jurkevitch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Molecular recognition by microbial receptors for siderophores [natural iron(III) carriers] is examined with synthetic iron(III) carriers as structural probes. The iron(III) carriers have been designed to reproduce the two essential features of the natural siderophores: the capability to form octahedral iron(III) binding cavities and to fit specific membrane receptors. Specifically, analogs of tripodal ferrichrome and linear ferrioxamines have been prepared and examined. The ferrichrome analogs rely on C3‐symmetric binders that are assembled from triscarboxylates as anchors, amino acids as bridges, and terminal hydroxamate groups as binding sites. The ferrioxamine analogs are based on linear assemblies of three identical monomers, each derived from a chiral amino acid. The deliberate use of animo acid residues as variable building blocks enables us to systematically modify the molecules' envelopes and the preferred absolute configuration of the iron(III) complexes until optimal performance is reached. Examination of the synthetic analogs in Pseudomonas putida demonstrates that the domains around the iron(III) center and their chiral sense dictate the extent of recognition by the membrane receptors. It is also shown that the synthetic siderophore analogs may be designed to either exert a broader, or a more narrow range of microbial activity than the natural siderophores. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the possible design of species‐specific antimicrobial agents. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993


  • Pseudomonas putida
  • coprogen
  • ferrichrome
  • ferrioxamine
  • growth inhibition
  • growth promotion
  • hydroxamates
  • membrane receptors
  • synthetic siderophore analogs
  • transport proteins


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