Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Science. 1994 Jul 22;265(5171):537-9.

Sensing starvation: a homoserine lactone--dependent signaling pathway in Escherichia coli.

Author information

  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


When nutrients become limiting, many bacteria differentiate and become resistant to environmental stresses. For Escherichia coli, this process is mediated by the sigma s subunit of RNA polymerase. Expression of sigma s was induced by homoserine lactone, a metabolite synthesized from intermediates in threonine biosynthesis. Homoserine lactone-dependent synthesis of sigma s was prevented by overexpression of a newly identified protein, RspA. The function of homoserine lactone derivatives in many cell density-dependent phenomena and the similarity of RspA to a Streptomyces ambofaciens protein suggest that synthesis of homoserine lactone may be a general signal of starvation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk