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Iron Mining

<p>Using a fleet of iron-transport proteins, modeled here as little Pac-Man shapes, the pathogenic bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae steals iron from its human host and transports the pilfered metal (orange balls) across the space between its outer and inner membranes. Understanding how the bacterium that causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea obtains this essential nutrient could be key to fighting the disease. The finding, from a team led by natural sciences dean Alvin Crumbliss and chemistry professor Michael Fitzgerald, represents progress in &quot;metallomics,&quot; an emerging field investigating how metals are distributed in biology. (Image: Grant Shuler, VCU. From Metallomics, May 2009)</p>