RpoS proteolysis is controlled directly by ATP levels in Escherichia coli

Celeste N. Peterson, Igor Levchenko, Joshua D. Rabinowitz, Tania A. Baker, Thomas J. Silhavy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The master regulator of stationary phase in Escherichia coli, RpoS, responds to carbon availability through changes in stability, but the individual steps in the pathway are unknown. Here we systematically block key steps of glycolysis and the citric acid cycle and monitor the effect on RpoS degradation in vivo. Nutrient upshifts trigger RpoS degradation independently of protein synthesis by activating metabolic pathways that generate small energy molecules. Using metabolic mutants and inhibitors, we show that ATP, but not GTP or NADH, is necessary for RpoS degradation. In vitro reconstitution assays directly demonstrate that ClpXP fails to degrade RpoS, but not other proteins, at low ATP hydrolysis rates. These data suggest that cellular ATP levels directly control RpoS stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-553
Number of pages6
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


  • Cellular energy
  • Metabolic state
  • Protein unfolding
  • Stationary phase


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