Metal ions in macrophage antimicrobial pathways: emerging roles for zinc and copper.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Bioscience reports, 2013, 33 (4)
Issue Date:
2013-01
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The immunomodulatory and antimicrobial properties of zinc and copper have long been appreciated. In addition, these metal ions are also essential for microbial growth and survival. This presents opportunities for the host to either harness their antimicrobial properties or limit their availability as defence strategies. Recent studies have shed some light on mechanisms by which copper and zinc regulation contribute to host defence, but there remain many unanswered questions at the cellular and molecular levels. Here we review the roles of these two metal ions in providing protection against infectious diseases in vivo, and in regulating innate immune responses. In particular, we focus on studies implicating zinc and copper in macrophage antimicrobial pathways, as well as the specific host genes encoding zinc transporters (SLC30A, SLC39A family members) and CTRs (copper transporters, ATP7 family members) that may contribute to pathogen control by these cells.
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