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Microbiology. 2007 Aug;153(Pt 8):2584-92.

The Escherichia coli AraC-family regulators GadX and GadW activate gadE, the central activator of glutamate-dependent acid resistance.

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


Escherichia coli can survive pH 2 acid stress by using several acid resistance systems. The most efficient of these employs glutamate decarboxylase (GadA/GadB) to consume protons, and an antiporter (GadC) to exchange the intracellular decarboxylation product for external glutamic acid. Expression of the essential transcriptional activator of this system, GadE, is controlled by several regulators in a hierarchical fashion. In this study, two additional activators have been identified. The AraC-family regulators GadX and GadW, previously found to activate gadA/BC in vitro, are now shown in vivo to directly activate gadE expression, which, in turn, activates the gadA/BC genes. In vivo results using E. coli and Salmonella enterica show that these regulators actually have little direct effect on gadA and gadBC promoters. The numerous gadE induction pathways converge on a 798 bp control region situated upstream of the gadE promoter region. Deletions of this control region exposed the region between -798 and -360 nt (relative to the translational start) to be required for maximum gadE-lacZ expression in Luria-Bertani (LB) medium and to be the primary focus of GadX and GadW control. The GadE protein itself, which binds to three GAD box sequences present between -233 and -42 nt, helped activate GadE expression in LB, but only when the -798 to -360 region was absent. These regulatory regions and proteins appear to integrate a variety of physiological signals that forecast a need for GadE-dependent gene expression and acid resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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