Copper homeostasis is universally spread among living organisms although dedicated systems have been described in some bacterial species or strains, raising the question of the evolutionary mechanisms sustaining the acquisition of such systems. We decided to focus our attention on the evolutionary aspects of Copper homeostasis within the alpha-proteobacteria group, which encounters bacterial species exhibiting various lifestyles in spite of an important conservation of particular signaling pathways.
Caulobacter crescentus is a pioneer species in polluted environments because it encodes several heavy metal (Hg, Cd, Cu, ...) resistance genes. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanisms involved in this resistance process are largely unknown. It has been shown in many organisms that a loss of copper homeostasis is potentially lethal but often results in an adaptative response.
In our group, we decided to focus our attention on the impact of an alteration of copper homeostasis on Caulobacter.