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Arch Microbiol. 2006 Jun;185(6):429-38. Epub 2006 May 6.

Effect of anaerobic and stationary phase growth conditions on the heat shock and oxidative stress responses in Escherichia coli K-12.

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Departamento de Biología Molecular y Biotecnología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico.


The natural living style of Escherichia coli occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, where most of its existence is spent under anaerobic conditions and in stationary phase of growth. Here we report on the heat shock response of E. coli K-12 cells growing in the presence or absence of oxygen. An rpoH mutant (impaired in the synthesis of the sigma(32) transcriptional factor) exhibited an increased sensitivity to heat shock but only in the exponential phase of aerobic growth, suggesting that in anaerobic growth conditions, and in aerobic stationary phase, sigma(32)-independent mechanisms are playing a prime role in protecting cells from heat stress. Our results demonstrated that sigma(S) is not involved in this protection system. Studies on the kinetics of synthesis of Heat shock proteins (Hsp) after an abrupt rise in temperature demonstrated that in the absence of oxygen, the synthesis of Hsp is triggered faster and is sustained for a longer period of time compared to aerobic growth conditions. Finally, the heated cells in the exponential phase of aerobic growth displayed a high concentration of oxidatively damaged proteins in the presence of 4 mM H(2)O(2), in sharp contrast to cultures of stationary phase or anaerobic growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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