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Gene Review

uspA  -  universal stress global response regulator

Escherichia coli str. K-12 substr. MG1655

Synonyms: ECK3480, JW3462
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Disease relevance of uspA

  • The increased expression of the uspA gene of Escherichia coli is an essential part of the cell's response to growth arrest [1].
  • The procedure involves amplification of the E. coli-specific universal stress protein A (uspA) gene (uspa-PCR), with the primer pair described by other authors, which allows differentiation of E. coli (STEC and non-STEC) from other gram-negative bacteria followed by identification of the main genetic virulence traits of the uspA-positive isolates [2].

High impact information on uspA


Biological context of uspA

  • All the fad-lacZ fusions examined (fadBA, fadL, and fadD) are increasingly expressed in stationary phase with kinetics similar to that of the increased expression of uspA [1].
  • The open reading frame immediately upstream of uspA is demonstrated to encode a 14-kDa protein which we named UspB (universal stress protein B) because of its general responsiveness to different starvation and stress conditions [7].
  • A plasmid with the structural uspA gene under the control of a tac promoter was used to study the effects of altering uspA expression levels under various growth conditions [8].
  • An industrial high cell density fed-batch cultivation on the basis of the suggested fed-batch protocol and the uspA promoter gave a final beta-galatosidase concentration of 7 g/L and a final cell concentration of 65 g/L [9].

Anatomical context of uspA

  • Best results were obtained with a moderate copy number vector (15-60 copies) bearing the uspA promoter, reaching 4.6 mg/g dry cell weight (DCW) of ZZ-proinsulin secreted to the periplasm and 1.9 mg/g DCW secreted to the culture medium [10].

Associations of uspA with chemical compounds

  • Transcription of uspA is derepressed during exponential growth in fadR null mutants or by including the fatty acid oleate in the growth medium of FadR+ cells [1].
  • The uspA mutant appears to dissimilate glucose at an elevated rate that is not commensurate with its biosynthetic processes [11].
  • The data indicate that the sigma(70) regulated promoter, uspA, although affected by the alarmone guanosine tetraphosphate, ppGpp, worked partly in a similar manner to constitutive promoters [9].
  • Inactivation of uspA in S. typhimurium C5, lead to increased susceptibility to stress conditions [12].

Other interactions of uspA

  • Thus, uspA is a member of the fadR regulon [1].
  • Thus, a mutation in the cell division gene, ftsK, uncouples the otherwise coordinated induction of sigma(S)-dependent genes and the universal stress response gene, uspA, during entry into stationary phase [13].
  • Cryotolerance induced by starvation of TSB- and LB-grown E. coli was correlated with the expression of genes involved in general stress response pathways, such as uspA, grpE, and rpoS [14].
  • In contrast to uspA, stationary-phase induction of uspB requires the sigma factor sigmaS [7].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of uspA

  • The results of DNA footprinting analysis show that FadR binds downstream of the uspA promoter in the noncoding region [1].
  • As was demonstrated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, increased uspA expression caused global changes in the pattern of protein synthesis [8].
  • We quantified the copy numbers of E. coli in the urine of patients with UTI by using a real-time PCR assay (the TaqMan system) targeting uspA genes in genomic DNAs isolated from urine samples (n=200) [15].


  1. Role of the Escherichia coli FadR regulator in stasis survival and growth phase-dependent expression of the uspA, fad, and fab genes. Farewell, A., Diez, A.A., DiRusso, C.C., Nyström, T. J. Bacteriol. (1996) [Pubmed]
  2. Development of a PCR-based method for specific identification of genotypic markers of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains. Osek, J., Dacko, J. J. Vet. Med. B Infect. Dis. Vet. Public Health (2001) [Pubmed]
  3. The universal stress protein A of Escherichia coli is required for resistance to DNA damaging agents and is regulated by a RecA/FtsK-dependent regulatory pathway. Diez, A., Gustavsson, N., Nyström, T. Mol. Microbiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  4. Expression and role of the universal stress protein, UspA, of Escherichia coli during growth arrest. Nyström, T., Neidhardt, F.C. Mol. Microbiol. (1994) [Pubmed]
  5. Cloning, mapping and nucleotide sequencing of a gene encoding a universal stress protein in Escherichia coli. Nyström, T., Neidhardt, F.C. Mol. Microbiol. (1992) [Pubmed]
  6. The universal stress protein, UspA, of Escherichia coli is phosphorylated in response to stasis. Freestone, P., Nyström, T., Trinei, M., Norris, V. J. Mol. Biol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  7. uspB, a new sigmaS-regulated gene in Escherichia coli which is required for stationary-phase resistance to ethanol. Farewell, A., Kvint, K., Nyström, T. J. Bacteriol. (1998) [Pubmed]
  8. Effects of overproducing the universal stress protein, UspA, in Escherichia coli K-12. Nyström, T., Neidhardt, F.C. J. Bacteriol. (1996) [Pubmed]
  9. Fed-batch production of recombinant beta-galactosidase using the universal stress promoters uspA and uspB in high cell density cultivations. Prytz, I., Sandén, A.M., Nyström, T., Farewell, A., Wahlström, A., Förberg, C., Pragai, Z., Barer, M., Harwood, C., Larsson, G. Biotechnol. Bioeng. (2003) [Pubmed]
  10. Medium and copy number effects on the secretion of human proinsulin in Escherichia coli using the universal stress promoters uspA and uspB. Mergulhão, F.J., Monteiro, G.A., Larsson, G., Sandén, A.M., Farewell, A., Nystrom, T., Cabral, J.M., Taipa, M.A. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  11. Isolation and properties of a mutant of Escherichia coli with an insertional inactivation of the uspA gene, which encodes a universal stress protein. Nyström, T., Neidhardt, F.C. J. Bacteriol. (1993) [Pubmed]
  12. Role of the universal stress protein UspA of Salmonella in growth arrest, stress and virulence. Liu, W.T., Karavolos, M.H., Bulmer, D.M., Allaoui, A., Hormaeche, R.D., Lee, J.J., Anjam Khan, C.M. Microb. Pathog. (2007) [Pubmed]
  13. The Escherichia coli ftsK1 mutation attenuates the induction of sigma(S)-dependent genes upon transition to stationary phase. Diez, A.A., Tunlid, A., Nyström, T. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. (2002) [Pubmed]
  14. Growth history influences starvation-induced expression of uspA, grpE, and rpoS and subsequent cryotolerance in Escherichia coli O157:H7. Gawande, P.V., Griffiths, M.W. J. Food Prot. (2005) [Pubmed]
  15. Quantitative detection of Escherichia coli from urine of patients with bacteriuria by real-time PCR. Hinata, N., Shirakawa, T., Okada, H., Shigemura, K., Kamidono, S., Gotoh, A. Mol. Diagn. (2004) [Pubmed]
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