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Review Article

Biotechnological Potential of <i>Streptomyces</i> Siderophores as New Antibiotics

[ Vol. 28 , Issue. 7 ]


Luciana Terra, Norman Ratcliffe, Helena Carla Castro*, Ana Carolina Paulo Vicente* and Paul Dyson*   Pages 1407 - 1421 ( 15 )


Background: Siderophores are small-molecule iron-chelators produced by microorganisms and plants growing mostly under low iron conditions. Siderophores allow iron capture and transport through cell membranes into the cytoplasm, where iron is released for use in biological processes. These bacterial iron uptake systems can be used for antibiotic conjugation or as targets for killing pathogenic bacteria. Siderophores have been explored recently because of their potential applications in environmental and therapeutic research. They are present in Streptomyces, Grampositive bacteria that are an important source for discovering new siderophores.

Objective: This review summarizes siderophore molecules produced by the genus Streptomyces emphasizing their potential as biotechnological producers and also illustrating genomic tools for discovering siderophores useful for treating bacterial infections.

Methods: The literature search was performed using PUBMED and MEDLINE databases with keywords siderophore, secondary metabolites, Trojan horse strategy, sideromycin and Streptomyces. The literature research focused on bibliographic databases including all siderophores identified in the genus Streptomyces. In addition, reference genomes of Streptomyces from GenBank were used to identify siderophore biosynthetic gene clusters by using the antiSMASH platform.

Results: This review has highlighted some of the many siderophore molecules produced by Streptomyces, illustrating the diversity of their chemical structures and a wide spectrum of bioactivities against pathogenic bacteria. Furthermore, the possibility of using siderophores conjugated with antibiotics could be an alternative to overcome bacterial resistance to drugs and could improve their therapeutic efficacy.

Conclusion: This review confirms the importance of Streptomyces as a rich source of siderophores, and underlines their potential as antibacterial agents.


Siderophores, Streptomyces, actinomycetes, sideromycin, bacterial infection, “Trojan horse” approach.


Programa de Pos-Graduacao em Ciencias e Biotecnologia, Instituto de Biologia, UFF, Programa de Pos-Graduacao em Ciencias e Biotecnologia, Instituto de Biologia, UFF, Programa de Pos-Graduacao em Ciencias e Biotecnologia, Instituto de Biologia, UFF, Laboratorio de Genetica Molecular de Microorganismos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Life Science, Swansea University Medical School, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP

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