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Cells detect and sequester toxic copper: Mycobacterium tuberculosis


Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria / Janice Carr .. / LicensePD - Public Domain

The cells of Mycobacterium tuberculosis detect, move, and sequester toxic copper via membrane copper pumps and protein chaperones.

"Copper is an essential micronutrient that is involved in protein-mediated electron transfer and enzyme activity, yet reduced copper in its +1 oxidation state is highly toxic to cells. As a result, cellular regulation of copper is highly controlled, involving cell-surface copper pumps and protein chaperones that move copper around the cell, delivering it to specific target proteins and concurrently sequestering it to protect the cell from toxicity." (Wilmot 2007:15)
About the inspiring organism
Med_9997_lores Mycobacterium

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Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Develop systems to capture and sequester toxic forms of copper in contaminated water bodies. Remove copper from the bloodstream of poison victims, develop process controls systems for chemical manufacturing processes involving copper. Regulating and sequestering copper to build nano-structured materials.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Environmental cleanup, medicine, chemical manufacturing, materials creation

Carrie Wilmot Laboratory
Carrie M. Wilmot
Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, University of Minnesota
Wilmot, Carrie M. 2007. Fighting toxic copper in a bacterial pathogen. Nat Chem Biol. 3(1): 15-16.
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