Bacterial Copper Resistance and Virulence

  • Lucas B. Pontel
  • Susana K. Checa
  • Fernando C. SonciniEmail author


Copper is essential for most organisms. However, it is also toxic even at low levels, especially when its local concentration or intracellular distribution is not properly controlled. Similar to other organisms, bacteria have evolved specific copper homeostasis systems for maintaining a suitable intracellular concentration of this essential metal and at the same time, avoiding its toxic effects. Recent evidence indicates that intracellular copper actively contributes to the host innate immune response against bacterial infections and pathogens have acquired specific mechanisms to deal with this intoxicant. Here, we focus on the different arrays of metal sensing and regulatory systems employed by bacterial pathogens to mount the proper response to counteract the toxic effects of copper allowing survival and replication inside the host.


Copper homeostasis Copper function and toxicity Bacterial pathogenesis Innate immune response Salmonella Mycobacterium 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucas B. Pontel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Susana K. Checa
    • 1
  • Fernando C. Soncini
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Rosario (IBR, CONICET-UNR), Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Bioquímicas y FarmacéuticasUniversidad Nacional de Rosario, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasRosarioArgentina
  2. 2.MRC Laboratory of Molecular BiologyCambridgeUK

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