Trace Nutrient Metals in Microbial Physiology
Trace nutrient metal ions (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu) are essential for the function of nearly half of all proteins but they are toxic to cells if present in excess or if inserted into the wrong sites. The battle to control metal availability is now recognised as a key component of host-pathogen interactions in so-called “Nutritional Immunity” and there is growing interest in developing agents that manipulate nutrient metal level and location as new antimicrobial therapeutics.
We use microbiological, biochemical, and chemical approaches to answer the following questions:
1. How does host-imposed, metal-linked nutritional immunity impact bacterial physiology?
2. How do bacteria adapt to the effects of nutritional immunity?
3. When/where in the host do bacterial pathogens encounter metal ions?
4. What host immune effectors contribute to nutritional immunity?
5. Can we learn from nature and manipulate metal levels and locations as new antibacterial approaches?