Editors' ChoiceMicrobiology

Stress Inside Out

Science Signaling  21 May 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 276, pp. ec117
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004334

In Gram-negative bacteria, the integrity of the outer membrane is crucial for survival and is an important aspect of resistance to antibiotics. The biogenesis of the major components, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and outer-membrane protein (OMP), of the outer membrane begins in the cytoplasmic compartment, involves export across the inner membrane and transport through the periplasm, and finally requires active insertion into the outer membrane by specialized assembly machines. Lima et al. supply results for a model in which serious defects in LPS biogenesis also create problems for OMP biogenesis, thereby producing the two signals needed to activate the σE stress response pathway.

S. Lima, M. S. Guo, R. Chaba, C. A. Gross, R. T. Sauer, Dual molecular signals mediate the bacterial response to outer-membrane stress. Science 340, 837–841 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]