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J Bacteriol. 1995 May;177(10):2707-12.

The cobalt, zinc, and cadmium efflux system CzcABC from Alcaligenes eutrophus functions as a cation-proton antiporter in Escherichia coli.

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  • Institut für Pflanzenphysiologie und Mikrobiologie, Freien Universität, Berlin, Germany.


The function of the CzcABC protein complex, which mediates resistance to Co2+, Zn2+, and Cd2+ in Alcaligenes eutrophus by cation efflux, was investigated by using everted membrane vesicles of Escherichia coli and an acridine orange fluorescence quenching assay. Since metal cation uptake could not be measured with inside-out membrane vesicles prepared from A. eutrophus and since available E. coli strains did not express the Czc-mediated resistance to cobalt, zinc, and cadmium salts, mutants of E. coli which exhibited a Czc-dependent increase in heavy metal resistance were isolated. E. coli mutant strain EC351 constitutively accumulated Co2+, Zn2+, and Cd2+. In the presence of Czc, net uptake of these heavy metal cations was reduced to the wild-type level. Inside-out vesicles prepared from E. coli EC351 cells displayed a Czc-dependent uptake of Co2+, Zn2+, and Cd2+ and a cation-triggered acridine orange fluorescence increase. The czc-encoded protein complex CzcABC was shown to be a zinc-proton antiporter.

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