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J Bacteriol. 2008 Dec;190(24):8075-85. doi: 10.1128/JB.00821-08. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

A Multicopper oxidase (Cj1516) and a CopA homologue (Cj1161) are major components of the copper homeostasis system of Campylobacter jejuni.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Erratum in

  • J Bacteriol. 2009 Feb;191(3):1122.


Metal ion homeostasis mechanisms in the food-borne human pathogen Campylobacter jejuni are poorly understood. The Cj1516 gene product is homologous to the multicopper oxidase CueO, which is known to contribute to copper tolerance in Escherichia coli. Here we show, by optical absorbance and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, that purified recombinant Cj1516 contains both T1 and trinuclear copper centers, which are characteristic of multicopper oxidases. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry revealed that the protein contained approximately six copper atoms per polypeptide. The presence of an N-terminal "twin arginine" signal sequence suggested a periplasmic location for Cj1516, which was confirmed by the presence of p-phenylenediamine (p-PD) oxidase activity in periplasmic fractions of wild-type but not Cj1516 mutant cells. Kinetic studies showed that the pure protein exhibited p-PD, ferroxidase, and cuprous oxidase activities and was able to oxidize an analogue of the bacterial siderophore anthrachelin (3,4-dihydroxybenzoate), although no iron uptake impairment was observed in a Cj1516 mutant. However, this mutant was very sensitive to increased copper levels in minimal media, suggesting a role in copper tolerance. This was supported by increased expression of the Cj1516 gene in copper-rich media. A mutation in a second gene, the Cj1161c gene, encoding a putative CopA homologue, was also found to result in copper hypersensitivity, and a Cj1516 Cj1161c double mutant was found to be more copper sensitive than either single mutant. These observations and the apparent lack of alternative copper tolerance systems suggest that Cj1516 (CueO) and Cj1161 (CopA) are major proteins involved in copper homeostasis in C. jejuni.

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