Summary: Incubation of at sub-lethal temperatures results in an increase in thermotolerance. This process is dependent not only on the sub-lethal temperature but also on the duration of sub-lethal heating. This indicates that the mechanism inducing thermotolerance is a time/temperature dose response. Other factors that induce thermotolerance include exposure to ethanol, sorbic acid and low external pH values. These factors induce thermotolerance after incubation in the presence of protein synthesis inhibitors, and they are all known to affect the intracellular pH (pH). The acquisition of increased thermotolerance is minimal with sub-lethal heating under neutral external pH conditions. However, when the external pH is reduced to 4·0 the level of induced thermotolerance increases to a maximum value. Using a specific ATPase inhibitor, diethylstilboestrol (DES), ATPase activity was shown to be essential for the cell to survive heat stress. In addition, measurement of acid efflux, or ATPase activity, revealed that proton pumping from the cell increased by approximately 50% at sublethal temperatures that induce thermotolerance. This work has clearly implicated pH perturbation as the triggering mechanism conferring thermotolerance on .


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