Environmental pH affects transcriptional responses to cadmium toxicity in Escherichia coli K-12 (MG1655)

Craig R. Worden, William K. Kovac, Lisa A. Dorn, Todd Sandrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

It has been widely reported that pH mediates cadmium toxicity to bacteria. We used a tripartite approach to investigate mechanisms by which pH affects cadmium toxicity that included analyses of: (1) growth kinetics, (2) global gene expression, and (3) cadmium speciation. Cadmium extended the lag phase at pH 7, but not at pH 5. DNA microarray analysis revealed that stress response genes including hdeA, otsA, and yjbJ were more highly expressed at pH 5 than at pH 7 after only 5 min of exposure to cadmium, suggesting that acidic pH more rapidly induced genes that confer cadmium resistance. In addition, genes involved in transport and many hypothetical genes were more highly expressed at pH 5 than at pH 7 in the presence of cadmium. Concentrations of two cadmium species, including one previously implicated in the mechanism by which pH mediates cadmium toxicity (CdOH+), increased with pH. Our data demonstrate that transcriptional responses of Escherichia coli to cadmium are substantially affected by pH and suggest that several stress response, transport, and hypothetical genes play roles in the mechanism by which pH mediates cadmium toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Volume293
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2009

Keywords

  • Cadmium
  • Escherichia coli
  • Microarray
  • Speciation
  • Toxicity
  • pH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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