The activity of the high-affinity K+ uptake system Kdp sensitizes cells of Escherichia coli to methylglyoxal.


Expression of the Kdp system sensitizes cells to methylglyoxal (MG) whether this electrophile is added externally or is synthesized endogenously. The basis of this enhanced sensitivity is the maintenance of a higher cytoplasmic pH (pHi) in cells expressing Kdp. In such cells, MG elicits rapid cytoplasmic acidification via KefB and KefC, but the steady-state pHi attained is still too high to confer protection Lowering pHi further by incubation with acetate increases the sensitivity of cells to MG.

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