Responses of E. coli to osmotic stress: large changes in amounts of cytoplasmic solutes and water

Trends Biochem Sci. 1998 Apr;23(4):143-8. doi: 10.1016/s0968-0004(98)01196-7.


Escherichia coli is capable of growing in environments ranging from very dilute aqueous solutions of essential nutrients to media containing molar concentrations of salts or nonelectrolyte solutes. Growth in environments with such a wide range (at least 100-fold) of osmolarities poses significant physiological challenges for cells. To meet these challenges, E. coli adjusts a wide range of cytoplasmic solution variables, including the cytoplasmic amounts both of water and of charged and uncharged solutes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Nucleic Acids / metabolism
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Solutions
  • Water / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Nucleic Acids
  • Solutions
  • Water