We are pleased to announce the publication of this paper, which utilises the HADDOCK docking software, in the journal Nature Communications.


Iron is a limiting nutrient in bacterial infection putting it at the centre of an evolutionary arms race between host and pathogen. Gram-negative bacteria utilize TonB-dependent outer membrane receptors to obtain iron during infection. These receptors acquire iron either in concert with soluble iron-scavenging siderophores or through direct interaction and extraction from host proteins. Characterization of these receptors provides invaluable insight into pathogenesis. However, only a subset of virulence-related TonB-dependent receptors have been currently described. Here we report the discovery of FusA, a new class of TonB-dependent receptor, which is utilized by phytopathogenic Pectobacterium spp. to obtain iron from plant ferredoxin. Through the crystal structure of FusA we show that binding of ferredoxin occurs through specialized extracellular loops that form extensive interactions with ferredoxin. The function of FusA and the presence of homologues in clinically important pathogens suggests that small iron-containing proteins represent an iron source for bacterial pathogens.


Rhys Grinter, Inokentijs Josts, Khedidja Mosbahi, Aleksander W. Roszak, Richard J. CogdellAlexandre M. J. J. Bonvin, Joel J. Milner, Sharon M. Kelly, Olwyn Byron, Brian O. Smith & Daniel Walker. Structure of the bacterial plant-ferredoxin receptor FusA. (2016). Nature Communications. Published online 31 October 2016. doi:10.1038/ncomms13308

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