The growth advantage in stationary-phase phenotype conferred by rpoS mutations is dependent on the pH and nutrient environment.

Journal of Bacteriology
Michael J Farrell, Steven E Finkel

Abstract

Escherichia coli cells that are aged in batch culture display an increased fitness referred to as the growth advantage in stationary phase, or GASP, phenotype. A common early adaptation to this culture environment is a mutant rpoS allele, such as rpoS819, that results in attenuated RpoS activity. However, it is important to note that during long-term batch culture, environmental conditions are in flux. To date, most studies of the GASP phenotype have focused on identifying alleles that render an advantage in a specific environment, Luria-Bertani broth (LB) batch culture. To determine what role environmental conditions play in rendering relative fitness advantages to E. coli cells carrying either the wild-type or rpoS819 alleles, we performed competitions under a variety of culture conditions in which either the available nutrients, the pH, or both were manipulated. In LB medium, we found that while the rpoS819 allele confers a strong competitive fitness advantage at basic pH, it confers a reduced advantage under neutral conditions, and it is disadvantageous under acidic conditions. Similar results were found using other media. rpoS819 conferred its greatest advantage in basic minimal medium in which either glucose or Casamino A...Continue Reading

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