Molecular Genetics and Genomics

, Volume 281, Issue 1, pp 19–33 | Cite as

Control of RpoS in global gene expression of Escherichia coli in minimal media

  • Tao Dong
  • Herb E. SchellhornEmail author
Original Paper


RpoS, an alternative sigma factor, is critical for stress response in Escherichia coli. The RpoS regulon expression has been well characterized in rich media that support fast growth and high growth yields. In contrast, though RpoS levels are high in minimal media, how RpoS functions under such conditions has not been clearly resolved. In this study, we compared the global transcriptional profiles of wild type and an rpoS mutant of E. coli grown in glucose minimal media using microarray analyses. The expression of over 200 genes was altered by loss of RpoS in exponential and stationary phases, with only 48 genes common to both conditions. The nature of the RpoS-controlled regulon in minimal media was substantially different from that expressed in rich media. Specifically, the expression of many genes encoding regulatory factors (e.g., hfq, csrA, and rpoE) and genes in metabolic pathways (e.g., lysA, lysC, and hisD) were regulated by RpoS in minimal media. In early exponential phase, protein levels of RpoS in minimal media were much higher than that in Luria-Bertani media, which may at least partly account for the observed difference in the expression of RpoS-controlled genes. Expression of genes required for flagellar function and chemotaxis was elevated in the rpoS mutant. Western blot analyses show that the flagella sigma factor FliA was expressed much higher in rpoS mutants than in WT in all phase of growth. Consistent with this, the motility of rpoS mutants was enhanced relative to WT. In conclusion, RpoS and its controlled regulators form a complex regulatory network that mediates the expression of a large regulon in minimal media.


Microarray RpoS RpoS regulon Stress response 



This work was supported by a research operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to H.E. Schellhorn. We thank C. Joyce and S. Chiang for reviewing the manuscript and R. Yu for technical assistance.

Supplementary material

438_2008_389_MOESM1_ESM.xls (3.4 mb)
Suppmental Table. Transcriptome expression of E. coli wild type and rpoS mutants in exponential phase (OD600 = 0.3) and stationary phase (OD600 = 1.5) in glucose (0.2%) M63 minimal media. StdE: Standard Error (XLS 3508 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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