A2: Microbes in the News #2

-Article and Link:

“Exploring Copper’s Potential as Antibiotic.’ Source: University of Arizona News. Link: https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/exploring-coppers-potential-antibiotic

-Summary: An immunobiologist at the University of Arizona is studying whether or not copper could be used as an antibiotic in the future. Bacteria need certain metals, like calcium and iron, to survive, but copper is toxic to them. They have a protein called CopY that controls how their cells get rid of copper, but exactly how it works is unknown.

-Connections: We’ve talked about antibiotics in class, and about how they target characteristics of bacterial cells that are different from eukaryotic cells. We also talked about how antibiotic resistance is increasing- thus, antibiotics targeting elements of bacteria that they haven’t yet developed resistance to might soon be needed.

-Critical Analysis: I found it interesting that macrophages (at least in the lungs) “bombard’ bacterial cells with copper, while depriving them of metals they do need, in order to kill them. I think the article was scientifically accurate (I trust it slightly more than I would if it were from a “regular’ news website, because it’s from a university- though that isn’t always a sure thing). I think it was well written. Most people have heard of pneumonia, so I think mentioning it at the beginning of the article was a good way to draw readers in. I think it did a good job of communicating science to the public- for example, it defined the term “macrophage,’ and explained why research into new antibiotics is needed.

-Question: Is copper also harmful to eukaryotic cells?

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