► Siderocalins are immune proteins produced by animals (humans, chickens, and quail). ► Siderocalins intercept bacterial siderophores. ► Siderocalins have been developed for specific bacterial pathogens. ► Siderocalins are also involved in various cellular processes.
Bacterial pathogens use siderophores to obtain iron from the host in order to survive and grow. The host defends against siderophore-mediated iron acquisition by producing siderocalins. Siderocalins are a siderophore binding subset of the lipocalin family of proteins. The design of the siderophore binding pocket gives siderocalins the ability to bind a wide variety of siderophores and protect the host against several pathogens. Siderocalins have been identified in humans, chickens, and quail, among other animals. The differences in the respective siderocalins suggest that each was developed in response to the most serious pathogens encountered by that animal. Additionally, siderocalins have been observed in many roles unrelated to pathogen defense including differentiation, embryogenesis, inflammation, and cancer.