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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2009 Jan;7(1):25-35. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2057.

How do bacterial cells ensure that metalloproteins get the correct metal?

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  • 1Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Medical School, University of Newcastle, UK.

Erratum in

  • Nat Rev Microbiol. 2009 Feb;7(2):172.


Protein metal-coordination sites are richly varied and exquisitely attuned to their inorganic partners, yet many metalloproteins still select the wrong metals when presented with mixtures of elements. Cells have evolved elaborate mechanisms to scavenge for sufficient metal atoms to meet their needs and to adjust their needs to match supply. Metal sensors, transporters and stores have often been discovered as metal-resistance determinants, but it is emerging that they perform a broader role in microbial physiology: they allow cells to overcome inadequate protein metal affinities to populate large numbers of metalloproteins with the right metals.

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