Pseudomonas aeruginosa zinc homeostasis: Key issues for an opportunistic pathogen

Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2019 Jul;1862(7):722-733. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2018.01.018. Epub 2018 Feb 2.


Zinc is an essential trace element for almost all living organisms. In the opportunistic bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, zinc has been shown to play an important role in virulence, in colonization of the host organism and has also been shown to be involved in antibiotic resistance. P. aeruginosa possesses numerous systems enabling it to thrive in zinc-depleted conditions as well as high-zinc situations, two environments that are encountered during human infection. These capabilities account for its pathogenic strength. The main aim of this review is to focus on zinc homeostasis in P. aeruginosa and the genetic regulation of the systems involved. The interconnection with virulence, as well as the mechanism of co-regulation between metal and antibiotic resistance, are of prime interest for understanding the molecular mechanisms allowing P. aeruginosa to switch from its existence as a common environmental bacterium to a severe opportunistic pathogen. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Dynamic gene expression, edited by Prof. Patrick Viollier.

Keywords: Carbapenem; Homeostasis; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Virulence; Zinc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Homeostasis
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity*
  • Virulence
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Zinc