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Type: Journal article
Title: Zinc stress induces copper depletion in Acinetobacter baumannii
Author: Hassan, K.
Pederick, V.
Elbourne, L.
Paulsen, I.
Paton, J.
McDevitt, C.
Eijkelkamp, B.
Citation: BMC Microbiology, 2017; 17(1):59-1-59-15
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1471-2180
Statement of
Karl A. Hassan, Victoria G. Pederick, Liam D. H. Elbourne, Ian T. Paulsen, James C. Paton, Christopher A. McDevitt and Bart A. Eijkelkamp
Abstract: Background: The first row transition metal ions zinc and copper are essential to the survival of many organisms, although in excess these ions are associated with significant toxicity. Here, we examined the impact of zinc and copper stress on Acinetobacter baumannii, a common opportunistic pathogen. Results: We show that extracellular zinc stress induces a copper-specific depletion phenotype in A. baumannii ATCC 17978. Supplementation with copper not only fails to rescue this phenotype, but further exacerbates the copper depletion. Extensive analysis of the A. baumannii ATCC 17978 genome identified 13 putative zinc/copper resistance efflux pumps. Transcriptional analyses show that four of these transporters are responsive to zinc stress, five to copper stress and seven to the combination of zinc and copper stress, thereby revealing a likely foundation for the zinc-induced copper starvation in A. baumannii. In addition, we show that zinc and copper play crucial roles in management of oxidative stress and the membrane composition of A. baumannii. Further, we reveal that zinc and copper play distinct roles in macrophage-mediated killing of this pathogen. Conclusions: Collectively, this study supports the targeting of metal ion homeostatic mechanisms as an effective antimicrobial strategy against multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens.
Keywords: Acinetobacter; Copper; Fatty acids; Macrophages; Membrane; Oxidative stress; Transporter; Zinc
Rights: © The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
RMID: 0030065930
DOI: 10.1186/s12866-017-0965-y
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Environment Institute publications

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