PerspectiveBiochemistry

A metal shuttle keeps pathogens well fed

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Science  27 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6289, pp. 1055-1056
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8755

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Summary

Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive bacterium that is a leading cause of life-threatening infections in humans. Knowledge of how this pathogen colonizes the human host and causes disease is crucial for the development of strategies to prevent and treat S. aureus infections (see the image, next page). On page 1105 of this issue, Ghssein et al. report the discovery, isolation, and functional evaluation of staphylopine (see the figure), a compound biosynthesized by S. aureus that captures metal ions from the pathogen's surroundings and thereby enables it to grow (1).