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Mol Microbiol. 2018 Nov;110(3):357-369. doi: 10.1111/mmi.14086. Epub 2018 Sep 16.

An important role for periplasmic storage in Pseudomonas aeruginosa copper homeostasis revealed by a combined experimental and computational modeling study.

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Center for Quantitative Medicine and Department of Cell Biology, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, 263 Farmington Av, Farmington, CT, 06030, USA.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA, 01609, USA.
Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, 10 Discovery Dr, Farmington, CT, 06032, USA.


Biological systems require precise copper homeostasis enabling metallation of cuproproteins while preventing metal toxicity. In bacteria, sensing, transport, and storage molecules act in coordination to fulfill these roles. However, there is not yet a kinetic schema explaining the system integration. Here, we report a model emerging from experimental and computational approaches that describes the dynamics of copper distribution in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Based on copper uptake experiments, a minimal kinetic model describes well the copper distribution in the wild-type bacteria but is unable to explain the behavior of the mutant strain lacking CopA1, a key Cu+ efflux ATPase. The model was expanded through an iterative hypothesis-driven approach, arriving to a mechanism that considers the induction of compartmental pools and the parallel function of CopA and Cus efflux systems. Model simulations support the presence of a periplasmic copper storage with a crucial role under dyshomeostasis conditions in P. aeruginosa. Importantly, the model predicts not only the interplay of periplasmic and cytoplasmic pools but also the existence of a threshold in the concentration of external copper beyond which cells lose their ability to control copper levels.

[Available on 2019-11-01]

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