Recent developments in copper and zinc homeostasis in bacterial pathogens

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2014 Apr;19:59-66. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2013.12.021. Epub 2014 Jan 22.


Copper and zinc homeostasis systems in pathogenic bacteria are required to resist host efforts to manipulate the availability and toxicity of these metal ions. Central to this microbial adaptive response is the involvement of metal-trafficking and metal-sensing proteins that ultimately exercise control of metal speciation in the cell. Cu-specific and Zn-specific metalloregulatory proteins regulate the transcription of metal-responsive genes while metallochaperones and related proteins ensure that these metals are appropriately buffered by the intracellular milieu and delivered to correct intracellular targets. In this review, we summarize recent findings on how bacterial pathogens mount a metal-specific response to derail host efforts to win the 'fight over metals.'

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / chemistry
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Copper / chemistry
  • Copper / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Zinc / chemistry
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Copper
  • Zinc