Escherichia coli is exposed to a wide variety of stressful environments. Among these are oxidative stress, heat shock, nutrient deprivation, and the condition discussed here, treatments that damage DNA. In each case, E. coli has developed responses to these conditions which allow it to counteract the effects of stress. Most of these stress responses involve the increased expression of sets of gene products which, in one way or another, allow the cell to maximize its chances of survival. These responses are also termed “global responses,” because they involve a set of functions that are diverse at the molecular and mechanistic level, and because these functions alter the physiology of the cell during the response. Many of these stress responses are discussed elsewhere in this volume.1–3 In a number of these responses, such as the response to anaerobiosis3 or oxidative damage,2 a transcriptional activator controls expression of a group of genes. Others, such as the responses to heat shock1 or nitrogen limitation,4 involve the action of alternative σ factors. The SOS response, the subject of this chapter, is controlled instead by the inactivation of a repressor.


RecA Protein LexA Level Induction Ratio LexA Protein Prophage Induction 
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