Macrophages are immune cells that are known to engulf pathogens and destroy them by employing several mechanisms, including oxidative burst, induction of Fe(II) and Mn(II) efflux, and through elevation of Cu(I) and Zn(II) concentrations in the phagosome (‘brass dagger’). The importance of the latter mechanism is supported by the presence of multiple counteracting efflux systems in bacteria, responsible for the efflux of toxic metals. We hypothesize that similar bacteria-killing mechanisms are found in predatory protozoa/amoeba species. Here, we present a brief summary of soft metal-related mechanisms used by macrophages, and perhaps amoeba, to inactivate and destroy bacteria. Based on this, we think it is likely that copper resistance is also selected for by protozoan grazing in the environment.
Bacterial killing in macrophages and amoeba: Do they all use a brass dagger?