Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 160, Issue 6, pp 424–431 | Cite as

Transient, specific and extremely rapid release of osmolytes from growing cells of Escherichia coli K-12 exposed to hypoosmotic shock

  • Manfred Schleyer
  • Roland Schmid
  • Evert P. Bakker
Original Papers


The influence of hypoosmotic shock on the solute content of growing Escherichia coli K-12 cells was investigated at 37°C. Within 20 s after the shock the cells had released most of their osmolytes K+, glutamate and trehalose. This release was specific and not due to rupture of the cell membrane, since under these conditions i) the cells neither lost protein nor ATP, ii)[14C]-labeled sucrose did not enter the cytoplasm from the periplasm, and iii) except for their glutamate and aspartate level, which decreased, the amino acid pool of alanine, lysine and arginine of the cells remained approximately constant. Within a minute after the shock the cells started to reaccumulate parts of their previously released glutamate, aspartate and K+, but not trehalose and resumed growth within 10 min after the shock. Experiments with K+-transport mutants showed that none of the genetically-identified K+ transport systems is involved in the K+-release process. Reaccumulation of K+ took place via the uptake systems TrkG and TrkH. The possibility is discussed that the exit of solutes after hypoosmotic shock occurs via several stretch-activated channels, which each allow the release of a specific osmolyte.

Key words

Osmoadaptation Hypoosmotic shock Stretch-activated channels K+ release Glutamate release Trehalose release K+ uptake Glutamate uptake Amino-acid pool Accute osmotic stress Escherichia coli 



optical density at 578 nm






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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manfred Schleyer
    • 1
  • Roland Schmid
    • 1
  • Evert P. Bakker
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich MikrobiologieUniversität OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

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