Manganese is essential for S. pneumoniae to be able to invade and cause disease in humans. The researchers identified that the bacterial transporter that normally binds to manganese (PsaBCA) can also bind to zinc. However, the smaller size of zinc means that when it binds to the transporter, the mechanism closes too tightly. This causes the ‘spring-hammer’ mechanisms of PsaCA to unwind too far and jam shut, and it becomes unable to take up manganese.
- How zinc starves lethal bacteria to stop infection (scienceblog.com)
- Zinc Starves Deadly Streptococcus Bacteria: Study (asianscientist.com)