Starvation of Bacteria for Amino Acids as an Example of Prokaryotic Response to Nutritional Deprivation pp. 225-244
Authors: (Agnieszka Szalewska-Pałasz, Katarzyna Potrykus, Michael Cashel, Grzegorz Węgrzyn, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Gdańsk, Kładki, Gdańsk, Poland, and others)
Abstract: Starvation is a common condition found in a natural environment by bacteria. In bacterial ecology, there is a classical description of the nutritional status of cells, expressed as “feast or famine”. This means that in natural habitats, bacteria are often starved for long periods which are disrupted by short events of nutritional richness. Therefore, bacterial cells had to develop specific physiological strategies, allowing their survival under conditions of both long starvation and short nutritional prosperity, as well as allowing quick changes in metabolism in response to rapid nutritional changes. One example is the stringent response, i.e. a general bacterial response to limitation for sources of carbon, nitrogen, phosphate, amino acids or iron. This regulation is due to the specific guanine nucleotide analogues, guanosine tetraphosphate and guanosine pentaphosphate, abbreviated as ppGpp and pppGpp, respectively. In this chapter we describe and discuss processes that occur in bacterial cells under conditions of nutrient limitation, their regulation, and importance for cell function and survival. The role of the stringent control in biology of extrachromosomal genetic elements, plasmids and bacetriophage genomes is also discussed and some practical applications of (p)ppGpp mediated physiology are highlighted.
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