↓ Skip to main content

A Molecular Mechanism for Bacterial Susceptibility to Zinc

Overview of attention for article published in PLoS Pathogens, November 2011
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (95th percentile)


247 Dimensions

Readers on

250 Mendeley
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
A Molecular Mechanism for Bacterial Susceptibility to Zinc
Published in
PLoS Pathogens, November 2011
DOI 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002357
Pubmed ID

Christopher A. McDevitt, Abiodun D. Ogunniyi, Eugene Valkov, Michael C. Lawrence, Bostjan Kobe, Alastair G. McEwan, James C. Paton


Transition row metal ions are both essential and toxic to microorganisms. Zinc in excess has significant toxicity to bacteria, and host release of Zn(II) at mucosal surfaces is an important innate defence mechanism. However, the molecular mechanisms by which Zn(II) affords protection have not been defined. We show that in Streptococcus pneumoniae extracellular Zn(II) inhibits the acquisition of the essential metal Mn(II) by competing for binding to the solute binding protein PsaA. We show that, although Mn(II) is the high-affinity substrate for PsaA, Zn(II) can still bind, albeit with a difference in affinity of nearly two orders of magnitude. Despite the difference in metal ion affinities, high-resolution structures of PsaA in complex with Mn(II) or Zn(II) showed almost no difference. However, Zn(II)-PsaA is significantly more thermally stable than Mn(II)-PsaA, suggesting that Zn(II) binding may be irreversible. In vitro growth analyses show that extracellular Zn(II) is able to inhibit Mn(II) intracellular accumulation with little effect on intracellular Zn(II). The phenotype of S. pneumoniae grown at high Zn(II):Mn(II) ratios, i.e. induced Mn(II) starvation, closely mimicked a ΔpsaA mutant, which is unable to accumulate Mn(II). S. pneumoniae infection in vivo elicits massive elevation of the Zn(II):Mn(II) ratio and, in vitro, these Zn(II):Mn(II) ratios inhibited growth due to Mn(II) starvation, resulting in heightened sensitivity to oxidative stress and polymorphonuclear leucocyte killing. These results demonstrate that microbial susceptibility to Zn(II) toxicity is mediated by extracellular cation competition and that this can be harnessed by the innate immune response.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 5 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 250 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Chile 1 <1%
Australia 1 <1%
Czechia 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Denmark 1 <1%
Spain 1 <1%
Luxembourg 1 <1%
Unknown 243 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 81 32%
Researcher 49 20%
Student > Bachelor 29 12%
Student > Master 28 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 10 4%
Other 36 14%
Unknown 17 7%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 73 29%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 53 21%
Chemistry 25 10%
Immunology and Microbiology 24 10%
Materials Science 11 4%
Other 39 16%
Unknown 25 10%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 21. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 22 November 2018.
All research outputs
of 15,857,700 outputs
Outputs from PLoS Pathogens
of 6,921 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 115,732 outputs
Outputs of similar age from PLoS Pathogens
of 129 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,857,700 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 93rd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 6,921 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 17.5. This one has done well, scoring higher than 83% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 115,732 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 129 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.