Resisting death by metal: metabolism and Cu/Zn homeostasis in bacteria

Matthew J. Sullivan, Ignacio Terán, Kelvin G.K. Goh, Glen C. Ulett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Metal ions such as zinc and copper play important roles in host-microbe interactions and their availability can drastically affect the survival of pathogenic bacteria in a host niche. Mechanisms of metal homeostasis protect bacteria from starvation, or intoxication, defined as when metals are limiting, or in excess, respectively. In this mini-review, we summarise current knowledge on the mechanisms of resistance to metal stress in bacteria, focussing specifically on the homeostasis of cellular copper and zinc. This includes a summary of the factors that subvert metal stress in bacteria, which are independent of metal efflux systems, and commentary on the role of small molecules and metabolic systems as important mediators of metal resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalEmerging Topics in Life Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2024

Cite this