Research Seminar: Copper in the physiology of bacterial pathogen

Dr. Karrera Djoko, Department of Chemistry, University of Durham

Tuesday 3rd April, 1.00 p.m., Stacey Lecture Theatre 1

Trace nutrient metal ions (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu) are bacterial nutrients and they are essential for the function of nearly half of all proteins. However, these metal ions are toxic 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-bacteria interactions. This concept is termed “Nutritional Immunity” and recent advances in this topic have stimulated interest in developing agents that manipulate nutrient metal level and location as new antimicrobial therapeutics.


Focusing on copper, we use cross-disciplinary approaches in microbiology, biochemistry, and chemistry to address 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. What host immune effectors contribute to nutritional immunity?

4. Can we learn from nature and manipulate metal levels and locations as new antibacterial approaches?


Examples from recent and ongoing work will be presented.