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J Bacteriol. 1994 Mar;176(5):1422-6.

A low-pH-inducible, stationary-phase acid tolerance response in Salmonella typhimurium.

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


Acid is an important environmental condition encountered by Salmonella typhimurium during its pathogenesis. Our studies have shown that the organism can actively adapt to survive potentially lethal acid exposures by way of at least three possibly overlapping systems. The first is a two-stage system induced in response to low pH by logarithmic-phase cells called the log-phase acid tolerance response (ATR). It involves a major molecular realignment of the cell including the induction of over 40 proteins. The present data reveal that two additional systems of acid resistance occur in stationary-phase cells. One is a pH-dependent system distinct from log-phase ATR called stationary-phase ATR. It was shown to provide a higher level of acid resistance than log-phase ATR but involved the synthesis of fewer proteins. Maximum induction of stationary-phase ATR occurred at pH 4.3. A third system of acid resistance is not induced by low pH but appears to be part of a general stress resistance induced by stationary phase. This last system requires the alternative sigma factor, RpoS. Regulation of log-phase ATR and stationary-phase ATR remains RpoS independent. Although the three systems are for the most part distinct from each other, together they afford maximum acid resistance for S. typhimurium.

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