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Microbiology. 2007 Apr;153(Pt 4):935-946. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.29288-0.

Adapted tolerance to benzalkonium chloride in Escherichia coli K-12 studied by transcriptome and proteome analyses.

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The Norwegian University of Life Science (UMB), PO Box 5003, N-1432 Ås, Norway.
Matforsk, Norwegian Food Research Institute, Osloveien 1, N-1430 Ås, Norway.
Plate-forme Protéomique, INRA site de Theix, 63122 Saint-Genès Champanelle, France.
UR454 Microbiologie-Equipe QuaSA, INRA site de Theix, 63122 Saint-Genès Champanelle, France.


Benzalkonium chloride (BC) is a commonly used disinfectant and preservative. This study describes changes in expression level at the transcriptomic and proteomic level for Escherichia coli K-12 gradually adapted to a tolerance level to BC of 7-8 times the initial MIC. Results from DNA arrays and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis for global gene and protein expression studies were confirmed by real-time quantitative PCR. Peptide mass fingerprinting by MALDI-TOF MS was used to identify differentially expressed proteins. Changes in expression level in adapted cells were shown for porins, drug transporters, glycolytic enzymes, ribosomal subunits and several genes and proteins involved in protection against oxidative stress and antibiotics. Adapted strains showed increased tolerance to several antibiotics. In conclusion, E. coli K-12 adapted to higher tolerance to BC acquired several general resistance mechanisms, including responses normally related to the multiple antibiotic resistance (Mar) regulon and protection against oxidative stress. The results revealed that BC treatment might result in superoxide stress in E. coli.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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