Secondary transport of metalcitrate complexes: The CitMHS family

Joshua J. Lensbouer, Robert P. Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Primary and secondary transport of citrate has been extensively studied in pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria. Primary transporters of citrate complexed with metal ions, particularly Fe, have also garnered attention, with the fec system of E. coli being a classic example. In contrast, little is known about secondary transporters of metalcitrate complexes. Recently, a family of proteins responsible for secondary metalcitrate transport in bacteria was discovered and designated as the CitMHS transporter family. Several members have been functionally characterized to date and serve as the foundation for understanding this family. Three subfamilies have been categorized, depending on the main metal ion transported. These subfamilies are the Mg2citrate transporter, the Ca2citrate transporter, and the Fe 3citrate transporter. Each subfamily is believed to be substrate-selective due to the metalcitrate complexes being abundantly present in their environment and/or the ability of the complex to be metabolized by the organism. The implication of this family in the pathogenic access to Fe, information about transcriptional control, putative structure, predicted family members, members characterized to date and potential use in bioremediation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-462
Number of pages10
JournalCritical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Metal-citrate
  • Streptomyces
  • integral membrane
  • iron
  • secondary transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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