A role for the ATP7A copper-transporting ATPase in macrophage bactericidal activity

Carine White, Jaekwon Lee, Taiho Kambe, Kevin Fritsche, Michael J. Petris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

340 Scopus citations


Copper is an essential micronutrient that is necessary for healthy immune function. This requirement is underscored by an increased susceptibility to bacterial infection in copper-deficient animals; however, a molecular understanding of its importance in immune defense is unknown. In this study, we investigated the effect of proinflammatory agents on copper homeostasis in RAW264.7 macrophages. Interferon-γ was found to increase expression of the high affinity copper importer, CTR1, and stimulate copper uptake. This was accompanied by copper-stimulated trafficking of the ATP7A copper exporter from the Golgi to vesicles that partially overlapped with phagosomal compartments. Silencing of ATP7A expression attenuated bacterial killing, suggesting a role for ATP7A-dependent copper transport in the bactericidal activity of macrophages. Significantly, a copper-sensitive mutant of Escherichia coli lacking the CopA copper-transporting ATPase was hypersensitive to killing by RAW264.7 macrophages, and this phenotype was dependent on ATP7A expression. Collectively, these data suggest that copper-transporting ATPases, CopA and ATP7A, in both bacteria and macrophage are unique determinants of bacteria survival and identify an unexpected role for copper at the host-pathogen interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33949-33956
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 4 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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