The Escherichia coli acid stress response and its significance for pathogenesis

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Escherichia coli has a remarkable ability to survive low pH and possesses a number of different genetic systems that enable it to do this. These may be expressed constitutively, typically in stationary phase, or induced by growth under a variety of conditions. The activities of these systems have been implicated in the ability of E. coli to pass the acidic barrier of the stomach and to become established in the gastrointestinal tract, something causing serious infections. However, much of the work characterizing these systems has been done on standard laboratory strains of E. coli and under conditions which do not closely resemble those found in the human gut. Here we review what is known about acid resistance in E. coli as a model laboratory organism and in the context of its lifestyle as an inhabitant-sometimes an unwelcome one-of the human gut.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-88
Number of pages40
JournalAdvances in Applied Microbiology
Early online date6 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Acid, Acid resistance, Amino acid decarboxylase, Escherichia coli, Pathogenesis, Two component systems