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Regulation of bacterial phosphate taxis and polyphosphate accumulation in response to phosphate starvation stress

Ohtake, H, Kato, J, Kuroda, A, Wu, H, Ikeda, T
Journal of biosciences 1998 v.23 no.4 pp. 491-499
aerobes, bacteria, chemotaxis, phosphates, phosphorus
Phosphorus (P) is an essential constituent in all types of living organisms. Bacteria, which use inorganic phosphate (Pᵢ), as the preferred P source, have evolved complex systems to survive during Pᵢ starvation conditions. Recently, we found thatPseudomonas aeruginosa, a monoflagellated, obligately aerobic bacterium, is attracted to Pᵢ. The evidence that the chemotactic response to Pᵢ (Pᵢ taxis) was observed only with cells grown in Pᵢ-limiting medium suggests that Pᵢ taxis plays an important role in scavenging Pᵢ residues under conditions of Pᵢ starvation. Many bacteria also exhibit rapid and extensive accumulation of polyphosphate (polyP), when Pᵢ is added to cells previously subjected to Pᵢ starvation stress. Since polyP can serve as a P source during Pᵢ starvation conditions, it is likely that polyP accumulation is a protective mechanism for survival during Pᵢ starvation. In the present review, we summarize our current knowledge on regulation of bacterial Pᵢ taxis and polyP accumulation in response to Pᵢ starvation stress.