Ferrous iron efflux systems in bacteria
Bacteria require iron for growth, with only a few reported exceptions. In many environments, iron is a limiting nutrient for growth and high affinity uptake systems play a central role in iron homeostasis. However, iron can also be detrimental to cells when it is present in excess, particularly under aerobic conditions where its participation in Fenton chemistry generates highly reactive hydroxyl radicals. Recent results have revealed a critical role for iron efflux transporters in protecting bacteria from iron intoxication. Systems that efflux iron are widely distributed amongst bacteria and fall into several categories: P1B-type ATPases, cation diffusion facilitator (CDF) proteins, major facilitator superfamily (MFS) proteins, and membrane bound ferritin-like proteins. Here, we review the emerging role of iron export in both iron homeostasis and as part of the adaptive response to oxidative stress.