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Organic vs inorganic


Shabala, L, Organic vs inorganic, Communicative & Integrative Biology, 2, (2) pp. 1-2. ISSN 1942-0889 (2009) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]


In order to survive hyperosmotic stress bacteria should adjust their cell turgor to altered conditions by increasing the intracellular osmolality. The classical view is that bacterial osmotic adjustment is achieved via accumulation of so-called "compatible solutes" some organic osmolytes that can be accumulated in the cytosol at high concentrations without interfering with cell metabolism. In our recently published paper,11 we have shown that in the absence of osmolytes in the environment uptake of inorganic ions (and, specifically, K+) is central to osmotic adjustment in E. coli under hyperosmotic stress conditions. Here we show that optimal E. coli growth, observed at 2% NaCl, corresponds to an osmotic balance between external and internal osmolality within bacterial cells. This is achieved by the regulation of net K+ fluxes across the bacterial membrane. We suggest that the role of compatible solutes in osmotic adjustment in bacteria is indirect and confined to the fine tuning of a number of ion channels and transporters in order to achieve osmotic balance.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Keywords:E. coli, osmotic adjustment, balanced growth, sucrose, NaCl, K+ transport
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Microbiology
Research Field:Microbial ecology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Food safety
UTAS Author:Shabala, L (Associate Professor Lana Shabala)
ID Code:60114
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2010-01-13
Last Modified:2010-06-09

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