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.