A bacterial homologue of the human iron exporter ferroportin found in the predatory Gram-negative bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus has been investigated. Molecular modelling, expression in recombinant form and iron binding and transport assays demonstrate that B. bacteriovorus ferroportin (bdFpn) is indeed an orthologue of human ferroportin. Key residues corresponding to those essential for iron binding and transport in human ferroportin are conserved in the bacterial homologue and are predicted to be correctly clustered in the central cavity of the protein. Mutation of these residues grossly affects the iron binding and transport ability of bdFpn.
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