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Adv Appl Microbiol. 2003;52:167-86.

Acid resistance in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, University of South Alabama Mobile, Alabama 36688, USA.


To colonize and cause disease, enteric pathogens must overcome environmental challenges that include acid stress in the host's stomach as well as short-chain fatty acid stress in the intestine of the host and reservoir. Three known inducible systems have evolved for stationary phase acid resistance in E. coli. These systems each provide a different level of protection with different requirements and induction conditions. Acid resistance system 1 (AR1) is acid induced in stationary phase, requires the presence of RpoS, and provides the least level of protection at pH 2.5. Acid resistance system 2 (AR2) is glutamate dependent and stationary phase induced, requires the presence of glutamate decarboxylase and a putative glutamate:GABA antiporter, and provides the highest level of protection. Acid resistance system 3 (AR3) is arginine dependent and acid induced under anaerobic conditions, requires the presence of arginine decarboxylase (AdiA), and provides only a modest level of protection. These three systems along with log phase acid tolerance protect cells from the acid stresses in both the reservoir and host, which can range from pH 2 to 4.5. They also protect against acid stress involved in food processing and facilitate the low infectious dose characteristic of E. coli, significantly contributing to the pathogenesis of this organism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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