Send to

Choose Destination
Crit Rev Microbiol. 1995;21(4):215-37.

Low pH adaptation and the acid tolerance response of Salmonella typhimurium.

Author information

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


Salmonella typhimurium periodically confronts acid environments during its life. These situations arise in chemically compromised ponds, soil, degradative cellular organelles, host digestive systems, and may even result from byproducts of their own metabolism. The levels of acid that are encountered range from mild to extreme. As a neutralophile, S. typhimurium prefers to grown in pH environments above pH 5.5. They can survive down to pH 4 for extended periods of time. However, the limits of endurance can be stretched if the organisms are first adapted to a moderate acid pH before exposing them to acidity below pH 4.0. This adaptation, called the acid-tolerance response (ATR), includes several log phase and stationary phase systems. Some of these systems are dependent on an alternate sigma factor for RNA polymerase called sigma s, whereas other systems are sigma s-independent. A key to the ATR is the synthesis of a series of acid shock inducible proteins (ASPs), 51 for log phase ATR and 15 for stationary phase ATR. Some of these ASPs require sigma s for their synthesis; others require the participation of the ferric uptake regulator protein Fur. Effective acid tolerance involves RecA-independent DNA repair systems, iron, and facets of fatty acid metabolism. Aspects of medium composition and carbon metabolism are also known to influence the nature of acid tolerance in this organism. In addition to aiding survival in the natural non-host environment, aspects of acid tolerance are also tied to virulence, as evidenced by the involvement of the mouse virulence locus mviA and the fact that acid-sensitive strains of S. typhimurium exhibit reduced virulence. This review summarizes these aspects of acid adaptation and includes a discussion of acid-regulated gene expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center