FeoB – ferrous iron uptake

Metals such as manganese and iron are essential to all forms of life. During bacterial infection, microbes acquire trace metals from the host. The innate immune response from the host is to sequester these metals away from infecting bacteria in order to suppress pathogenesis. We are investigating whether interference with bacterial metal acquisition can provide a novel target for antibiotic design.

FeoB is the major pathway for ferrous iron uptake for bacteria, which live in acidic or anaerobic environments. The protein has a unique topology, with an intracellular GTPase domain tethered directly to an integral membrane domain. We are endeavouring to solve the structure of FeoB using X-ray crystallography, to understand how GTP hydrolysis is coupled to ferrous iron transport.

Collaborators: Dr Mika Jormakka, Centenary Institute and Dr Renae Ryan, University of Sydney.