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Issue 6, 2015
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Copper tolerance and virulence in bacteria

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Abstract

Copper (Cu) is an essential trace element for all aerobic organisms. It functions as a cofactor in enzymes that catalyze a wide variety of redox reactions due to its ability to cycle between two oxidation states, Cu(I) and Cu(II). This same redox property of copper has the potential to cause toxicity if copper homeostasis is not maintained. Studies suggest that the toxic properties of copper are harnessed by the innate immune system of the host to kill bacteria. To counter such defenses, bacteria rely on copper tolerance genes for virulence within the host. These discoveries suggest bacterial copper intoxication is a component of host nutritional immunity, thus expanding our knowledge of the roles of copper in biology. This review summarizes our current understanding of copper tolerance in bacteria, and the extent to which these pathways contribute to bacterial virulence within the host.

Graphical abstract: Copper tolerance and virulence in bacteria

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Publication details

The article was received on 11 Dec 2014, accepted on 14 Jan 2015 and first published on 23 Jan 2015


Article type: Minireview
DOI: 10.1039/C4MT00327F
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Citation: Metallomics, 2015,7, 957-964
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Copper tolerance and virulence in bacteria

    E. Ladomersky and M. J. Petris, Metallomics, 2015, 7, 957
    DOI: 10.1039/C4MT00327F

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