Escherichia coli, a commensal mesophile that primarily inhabits the gastro-intestinal tract, responds to temperature up-shifts with transient expression of stress-response proteins. The goal of this study was to identify adaptive proteins of E. coli O157 crucial for growth resumption of this human pathogen after heat shock, with specific focus on the role of the RpoS sigma factor. Using the comparative proteomic analysis of hyper-thermally acclimatized wild-type strain B-1 and rpoS-mutant strain SV521, we identified 39 proteins that underwent significantly-different induction upon temperature shock at 45. °C or rpoS mutation. All identified proteins of the heat post-acclimation stimulon fell into two large sub-groups: (i) stress proteins, including molecular chaperons, proteases, DNA/RNA stabilizing enzymes, and anti-oxidant proteins, and (ii) housekeeping proteins. It was found that in the heat stress stimulon RpoS has significantly (P=0.012) limited control over the key stress proteins involved in translation, translational elongation, protein folding and refolding. However, RpoS showed a significant (P=0.035) control over the cellular metabolic processes that included NADPH regeneration, pentose-phosphate shunt, nicotinamide nucleotide and NADP metabolic processes, reflecting its specific importance in promoting resource utilization (energy, protein synthesis etc.) during proliferation of hyperthermally-adapted cells. Pathogenic strains, like E. coli O157, have the ability to survive a variety of harsh stress conditions, leading to their entry into the food chain, and subsequent pathogenesis. This research offers insights into the physiological response of this pathogen during the critical period following adaptation to thermal stress and subsequent resumption of growth.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Alberta Beef Cattle Research Council, NSERC, and NSERC-CRD are acknowledged for financial support.
- Escherichia coli O157
- Heat stress