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Microbiology. 2007 Sep;153(Pt 9):3154-61.

Sodium regulates Escherichia coli acid resistance, and influences GadX- and GadW-dependent activation of gadE.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Alabama, College of Medicine, Mobile, AL 36688, USA.


Enteric bacteria must survive the extreme acid of the stomach (pH 2 or less) before entering the intestine where they can colonize and cause disease. Escherichia coli is superior to most other Enterobacteriaceae in surviving pH 2 acid stress because it has four known acid-resistance systems, the most studied of which depends on glutamic acid. Glutamate-dependent acid resistance requires glutamate decarboxylase isozymes GadA and GadB, as well as a glutamate/gamma-aminobutyric acid antiporter encoded by gadC. The regulatory protein GadE is the essential activator of the gadA and gadBC genes. The transcription of gadE, however, is controlled by numerous proteins. Two of these proteins, GadX and GadW, are AraC-family regulators whose sensory input signals are not known. Since Na(+) and K(+) play important roles in pH homeostasis, the contribution of these ions toward the regulation of this acid-resistance system was examined. The results indicated that a decrease in Na(+), but not K(+), concentration coincided with diminished acid resistance, and decreased expression of the gadE, gadA and gadBC genes. However, Na(+)-dependent regulation of these genes dissipated in the absence of GadX and GadW. Since Na(+) levels did not regulate gadX or gadW transcription, it is proposed that GadX and GadW sense intracellular Na(+) concentration or some consequence of altered Na(+) levels.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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