Copper-resistant strains of Pseudomonas syringae carrying the cop operon produce periplasmic copper-binding proteins, and this sequestration outside the cytoplasm has been proposed as a resistance mechanism. In this study, strain PS61 of P. syringae carrying the cloned cop operon accumulated more total cellular copper than without the operon. Several other copper-resistant pseudomonads with homology to cop were isolated from plants, and these bacteria also accumulated copper. Two highly resistant species accumulated up to 115 to 120 mg of copper per g (dry weight) of cells. P. putida 08891 was more resistant to several metals than P. syringae pv. tomato PT23, but this increased resistance was not correlated with an increased accumulation of metals other than copper. Several metals were accumulated by both PT23 and P. putida, but when copper was added to induce the cop operon, there was generally no increase of accumulation of the other metals, suggesting that the cop operon does not contribute to accumulation of these other metals. The exceptions were aluminum for PT23 and iron for P. putida, which accumulated to higher levels when copper was added to the cultures. The results of this study support the role of copper sequestration in the copper resistance mechanism of P. syringae and suggest that this mechanism is common to several copper-resistant Pseudomonas species found on plants to which antimicrobial copper compounds are applied for plant disease control
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