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J Bacteriol. 1990 Dec;172(12):7157-66.

Role of Escherichia coli heat shock proteins DnaK and HtpG (C62.5) in response to nutritional deprivation.

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Department of Cellular, Viral, and Molecular Biology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City 84132.


Because of the highly conserved pattern of expression of the eucaryotic heat shock genes hsp70 and hsp84 or their cognates during sporulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and development in higher organisms, the role of the Escherichia coli homologs dnaK and htpG was examined during the response to starvation. The htpG deletion mutant was found to be similar to its wild-type parent in its ability to survive starvation for essential nutrients and to induce proteins specific to starvation conditions. The dnaK103 mutant, however, was highly susceptible to killing by starvation for carbon and, to a lesser extent, for nitrogen and phosphate. Analysis of proteins induced under starvation conditions on two-dimensional gels showed that the dnaK103 mutant was defective for the synthesis of some proteins induced in wild-type cells by carbon starvation and of some proteins induced under all starvation conditions, including the stationary phase in wild-type cells. In addition, unique proteins were synthesized in the dnaK103 mutant in response to starvation. Although the synthesis of some proteins under glucose starvation control was drastically affected by the dnaK103 mutation, the synthesis of proteins specifically induced by nitrogen starvation was essentially unaffected. Similarly, the dnaK103 mutant was able to grow, utilizing glutamine or arginine as a source of nitrogen, at a rate approximate to that of the wild-type parent, but it inefficiently utilized glycerol or maltose as carbon sources. Several differences between the protein synthetic pattern of the dnaK103 mutant and the wild type were observed after phosphate starvation, but these did not result in a decreased ability to survive phosphate starvation, compared with nitrogen starvation.

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