The copper resistome of group B Streptococcus reveals insight into the genetic basis of cellular survival during metal ion stress

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

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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In bacteria, copper (Cu) can support metabolic processes as an enzymatic cofactor but can also cause cell damage if present in excess, leading to intoxication. In group B Streptococcus (GBS), a system for control of Cu efflux based on the prototypical cop operon supports survival during Cu stress. In some other bacteria, genetic systems additional to the cop operon are engaged during Cu stress and also contribute to the management of cellular Cu homeostasis. Here, we examined genetic systems beyond the cop operon in GBS for regions that contribute to survival of GBS in Cu stress using a forward genetic screen and probe of the entire bacterial genome. A high-density mutant library, generated using pGh9-ISS1, was used to expose GBS to Cu stress and compare it to nonexposed controls en masse. Eight genes were identified as essential for GBS survival in Cu stress, whereas five genes constrained GBS growth in Cu stress. The genes encode varied factors including enzymes for metabolism, cell wall synthesis, transporters, and cell signaling factors. Targeted mutation of the genes validated their roles in GBS resistance to Cu stress. Excepting copA, the genes identified are new to the area of bacterial metal ion intoxication. We conclude that a discrete and limited suite of genes beyond the cop operon in GBS contributes to a repertoire of mechanisms used to survive Cu stress in vitro and achieve cellular homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00068-22
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number5
Early online date11 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • bacterial pathogenesis
  • copper
  • metal ions
  • Streptococcus

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