The regulation of expression of the porin genes of by acid pH was investigated using reporter gene fusions. The - gene fusion was expressed in response to acidification of the external medium. The kinetics of β-galactosidase synthesis under acid-induction differed significantly from those obtained under conditions of osmotic stress. The latter led to rapid induction without a lag, followed by establishment of a rate that was equal to the growth rate; acid-induction was frequently preceded by a short lag period, was relatively slow and did not achieve a rate that was in balance with the growth rate. Further, induction of the gene at acid external pH was dependent upon the presence of glucose as sole carbon source; growth with either glycerol or succinate as sole carbon source reduced induction of at acid pH. Osmotic induction was independent of carbon source. The induction of the gene at acid pH was also reduced by addition of cAMP to the growth medium. The porins are known to be subject to catabolite repression and our data are consistent with the exposure to acidic pH resulting in progressive changes in the state of catabolite repression. Acidification of the cytoplasm also provoked a rapid induction of the - gene fusion. The kinetics of induction resembled the response to osmotic upshock. This response was independent of the identity of the carbon source supplied for growth. The contribution of changes in cytoplasmic pH to the induction of at acid pH is discussed.


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