Molecular Mechanism of Copper Resistance in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato.

  • Cha, Jae-Soon (Department of Agricultural Biology, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk Republic of Korea) ;
  • Donald A. Cooksey (Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside, U. S. A.)
  • Published : 1995.06.01


Copper resistance in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato is determined by copper-resistance operon (cop) on a highly conserved 35 kilobase plasmid. Copper-resistant strains of Pseudomonas syringae containing the cop operon accumulate copper and develop blue clonies on copper-containing media. The protein products of the copper-resistance operon were characterized to provide an understanding of the copper-resistance mechanism and its relationship to copper accumulation. The Cop proteins CopA (72 kDa), CopB (39 kDa), and CopC (12 kDa) were produced only under copper induction. CopA and CopC were periplasmic proteins and CopB was an outer membrane protein. Leader peptide sequences of CopA, CopB, and CopC were confirmed by amino-terminal peptide sequencing. CopA, CopB, and CopC were purified from strain PT23.2, and their copper contents were determined. One molecule of CopA bound 10.9${\pm}$1.2 atoms of copper and one molecule of CopC bound 0.6${\pm}$0.1 atom of copper. P. syringae cells containing copCD or copBCD cloned behind the lac promoter were hypersensitive to copper. The CopD (32 kDa), a probable inner membrane protein, function in copper uptake with CopC. The Cop proteins apparently mediate sequestration of copper outside of the cytoplasm as a copper-resistance mechanism.