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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Sensing starvation: a homoserine lactone--dependent signaling pathway in Escherichia coli.

When nutrients become limiting, many bacteria differentiate and become resistant to environmental stresses. For Escherichia coli, this process is mediated by the sigma s subunit of RNA polymerase. Expression of sigma s was induced by homoserine lactone, a metabolite synthesized from intermediates in threonine biosynthesis. Homoserine lactone-dependent synthesis of sigma s was prevented by overexpression of a newly identified protein, RspA. The function of homoserine lactone derivatives in many cell density-dependent phenomena and the similarity of RspA to a Streptomyces ambofaciens protein suggest that synthesis of homoserine lactone may be a general signal of starvation.[1]


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