Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Copper: A Newly Appreciated Defense Against an Old Foe? [Molecular Bases of Disease]

June 8th, 2015 by Darwin, K. H.

Several independent studies have recently converged upon the conclusion that the human bacterial pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) must respond to copper during infections. At least three independently regulated pathways respond to excess copper and are required for the full virulence of M. tuberculosis in animals. In this review I will discuss the functions of the best-characterized copper-responsive proteins in M. tuberculosis, the potential sources of copper during an infection, and remaining questions about the interface between copper and tuberculosis.