Selective substrate uptake: The role of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) importers in pathogenesis

Kari J. Tanaka, Saemee Song, Kevin Mason, Heather W. Pinkett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The uptake of nutrients, including metals, amino acids and peptides are required for many biological processes. Pathogenic bacteria scavenge these essential nutrients from microenvironments to survive within the host. Pathogens must utilize a myriad of mechanisms to acquire these essential nutrients from the host while mediating the effects of toxicity. Bacteria utilize several transport proteins, including ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters to import and expel substrates. ABC transporters, conserved across all organisms, are powered by the energy from ATP to move substrates across cellular membranes. In this review, we will focus on nutrient uptake, the role of ABC importers at the host–pathogen interface, and explore emerging therapies to combat pathogenesis. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Beyond the Structure-Function Horizon of Membrane Proteins edited by Ute Hellmich, Rupak Doshi and Benjamin McIlwain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-877
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • ABC transporters
  • Amino acid transport
  • Emerging therapy
  • Metal transport
  • Pathogenesis
  • Peptide transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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