Addition of 15 μM-CuSO to 972 growing in a defined medium resulted in a biphasic growth curve and selection for a copper-resistant subpopulation. A clonal isolate of this subpopulation, designated strain SW40, had a decreased copper content per cell compared to the wild-type strain 972. The copper-resistance trait was stable in the absence of selection, and was the result of a single recessive chromosomal mutation. Copper resistance was not the result of metal ion efflux, extracellular chelation or an increased oxidative stress response. The results are consistent with a copper-resistance mechanism in which a modification of the cytoplasmic membrane results in decreased copper accumulation.


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