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Using mRNA to investigate the effect of low-pressure ultraviolet disinfection on the viability of E. coli

Yang, Chao, Sun, Wenjun, Ao, Xiuwei
Frontiers of environmental science & engineering 2019 v.13 no.2 pp. 26
Escherichia coli, death, disinfection, genes, messenger RNA, programmed cell death, ultraviolet radiation, viability
The efficacy of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection has been analyzed and validated by numerous studies using culture-based methods, yet the discovery of the viable but nonculturable state necessitates the investigation of UV disinfection based on viability parameters. Paired regulators of the SOS response system, recA-lexA, and the programmed cell death system, mazEF, in Escherichia coli were chosen as the target genes, and the effect of UV irradiation on the mRNAs of the four genes was studied. This research showed that, after UV irradiation, the responses of the mRNAs were highly consistent, with reduction percentages of approximately 60% at 20 mJ/cm², 70% at 40 mJ/cm², and 90% at 80 mJ/cm², and these reductions were believed to be the result of direct UV damage to nucleic acids. After 24 h of dark incubation, recA and lexA were both upregulated but to a lesser extent for repressor lexA; and mazE and mazF were both downregulated. This result implies that UV irradiation induces the dark repair system more actively, and the cells will proceed to death at a rate similar to that associated with natural decay.