• Transferrin;
  • Iron uptake;
  • Listeria monocytogenes

Abstract It has been demonstrated that under iron-restricted conditions, Listeria monocytogenes can utilize iron-loaded transferrin (Tf) from a range of species as its sole source of iron for growth. Human transferrin conjugated to horseradish-peroxidase (HRP-Tf) bound directly to whole cells of L. monocytogenes. This binding was blocked by apotransferrin indicating that the receptor can bind transferrin in either the iron-bound or iron-free form. Transferrin-binding was not host specific because both bovine and equine transferrin inhibited the binding of HRP-conjugated human transferrin. SDS-PAGE and Western blotting of bacterial surface extracts revealed the presence of a transferrin-binding protein of approximately 126 kDa.