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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2004;58:161-81.

Stationary-phase physiology.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Göteborg University, Box 462, 405 30 Göteborg , Sweden.


Bacteria enjoy an infinite capacity for reproduction as long as they reside in an environment supporting growth. However, their rapid growth and efficient metabolism ultimately results in depletion of growth-supporting substrates and the population of cells enters a phase defined as the stationary phase of growth. In this phase, their reproductive ability is gradually lost. The molecular mechanism underlying this cellular degeneration has not been fully deciphered. Still, recent analysis of the physiology and molecular biology of stationary-phase E. coli cells has revealed interesting similarities to the aging process of higher organisms. The similarities include increased oxidation of cellular constituents and its target specificity, the role of antioxidants and oxygen tension in determining life span, and an apparent trade-off between activities related to reproduction and survival.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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