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Rui: Acid And Base Stress In Escherichia Coli

Investigators
Slonczewski, Joan L
Institutions
Kenyon College
Start date
2011
End date
2013
Abstract

Acid and base affect bacterial growth and survival in soil and aquatic environments, impacting soil productivity and fisheries. In the human host, acid and base induce multidrug resistance genes. In the fermentation industry, pH (a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution) plays critical roles in growth and production. For example, pH regulation of hydrogenase enzymes affects the biological production of hydrogen fuel. In industrial processes, bacteria often form biofilms in which the pH is decreased, accelerating corrosion; thus, acid stress response amplifies the role of biofilms in equipment deterioration. The proposed project addresses these questions: (1) How is pH regulated in single cells versus biofilms? (2) How do multidrug efflux pumps impact bacterial survival in extreme acid or base? (3) What novel components of acid survival and base stress are revealed at low oxygen? To address these questions, bacterial cell pH will be measured using fluorescence microscopy. The export of acidic products from drug efflux pumps will be measured. Acid and base stress will be tested during bacterial growth in low oxygen.
Broader Impacts. This Research at Undergraduate Institutions Award will contribute to the nation's human resources by continuing an innovative research program run by undergraduates. Undergraduates are recruited in their first year to start in the lab, learning basic techniques while working with more advanced peers. Students then write their own mini-proposals, design and conduct the experiments, and draft the manuscript for publication. Most undergraduates attracted to work on the current project decide to pursue careers in science. In the wider community, the PI assists middle-school teachers and conducts teacher workshops on hands-on science education.

Funding Source
United States Nat'l. Science Fndn.
Project source
View this project
Project number
1050080
Categories
Escherichia coli
Antimicrobial Resistance
Education and Training
Bacterial Pathogens