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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2003;37(5):380-5.

Survival of nonspecific porin-deficient mutants of Escherichia coli in black sea water.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Arts, Ondokuz Mayis University, Kurupelit, Samsun, Turkey.



The aim of this study was to investigate the links between survival of Escherichia coli in sea water microcosms in the laboratory and the presence of porins in the outer membrane. The E. coli strains studied were a wild-type strain and a series of outer membrane protein (omp) mutants.


Bacteria were suspended in natural or filtered-autoclaved sea water microcosms and numbers determined over an incubation period by plate count and by count of cells capable of respiration.


The type of omp mutation has a significant impact in bacterial survival. The double OmpC-OmpF mutant and the OmpR mutant (which was incapable of synthesizing OmpC and OmpF) survived poorly compared with single omp mutants and the wild-type strain. This suggests that these proteins are important in determining the entry of E. coli into the survival mode. The EnvZ mutant, which lacks the protein by which the cell senses some changes in the environment, survived as well as the wild-type strain when compared by plate counts and by respiring cell count. The loss of the EnvZ protein has no effect on survival but it could prevent the organism sensing the changes in the environment through which entry into the survival state is triggered.


This work is another piece in the puzzle as to how bacteria survive stress conditions.

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