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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2002 Aug;81(1-4):33-42.

Sensing and adapting to acid stress.

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Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, University of Aberdeen, Institute of Medical Sciences, Foresterhill, UK.


Bacteria and archaea occupy a considerable diversity of niches that vary with respect to the physical conditions. Survival and colonisation requires the capacity to sense, and adapt to, environmental change. In this short review we consider the issues of adaptation to acidic conditions, in particular the mechanisms that might be employed by different bacteria to respond to the specific challenges of their niche. We lay particular emphasis on the protection of the cytoplasm during alterations of the cytoplasmic pH and, in the Gram negative bacteria, on recent work that suggests that protection of the periplasm is critical for survival of exposure to extreme acid. Finally, we discuss potential mechanisms by which pH might be sensed and consider the insights gained from proteins that sense and respond specifically to changes in pH.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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