, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 99-104
Date: 11 Jul 2007

Function of a Novel Cadmium-Induced YodA Protein in Escherichia coli

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Cells of Escherichia coli increase greatly the synthesis of a small primarily cytoplasmic protein as soon as the cell growth rate falls below the maximal growth rate supported by cadmium exposure, after which the mature product is exported to the periplasm. This protein was previously identified as the product of the E. coli yodA open reading frame. We now report the isolation of an E. coli mutant defective in YodA synthesis because of insertional inactivation of the corresponding gene. In experiments to test the ability of both the wild-type and yodA mutant E. coli cells to bind cadmium, we have used γ-labeled [109Cd]. Whereas the wild-type E. coli strain was able to bind metal, the yodA mutant strain failed to do so. In addition, analysis of such a mutant demonstrated that it grows at a rate distinguishable from that of the isogenic parent in the presence of cadmium ions. However, challenging cells with hydrogen peroxide and additional metals such as zinc, copper, cobalt, and nickel did not significantly affect the growth rate of the mutant. This growth phenotype was found to be the result of the loss of its ability to bind cadmium. These results suggest that the role of YodA protein might be to decrease the concentration level of cadmium ions in E. coli cells during cadmium stress by its ability to bind heavy metal.