Journal article

A Molecular Mechanism for Bacterial Susceptibility to Zinc

Christopher A McDevitt, Abiodun D Ogunniyi, Eugene Valkov, Michael C Lawrence, Bostjan Kobe, Alastair G McEwan, James C Paton

PLOS PATHOGENS | PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE | Published : 2011

Abstract

Transition row metal ions are both essential and toxic to microorganisms. Zinc in excess has significant toxicity to bacteria, and host release of Zn(II) at mucosal surfaces is an important innate defence mechanism. However, the molecular mechanisms by which Zn(II) affords protection have not been defined. We show that in Streptococcus pneumoniae extracellular Zn(II) inhibits the acquisition of the essential metal Mn(II) by competing for binding to the solute binding protein PsaA. We show that, although Mn(II) is the high-affinity substrate for PsaA, Zn(II) can still bind, albeit with a difference in affinity of nearly two orders of magnitude. Despite the difference in metal ion affinities, ..

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