Production of abnormal proteins in E. coli stimulates transcription of ion and other heat shock genes

Stephen A. Goff, Alfred L. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

359 Scopus citations


The product of the Ion gene in Escherichia coli, protease La, plays an important role in the degradation of abnormal proteins. To determine whether the presence of abnormal proteins stimulates expression of this gene, we examined its transcription using a Ion-IacZ operon fusion. After the cells synthesized large amounts of aberrant polypeptides (e.g. following incorporation of the arginine analog, canavanine, or production of incomplete proteins with puromycin, or induction of translational errors with streptomycin), these cells showed a two to three fold increase in Ion-IacZ expression. Furthermore, synthesis of a single cloned protein, e.g. human tissue plasminogin activator, caused a similar increase in Ion transcription. This induction of Ion by abnormal proteins requires the heat shock regulatory gene htpR and was not seen in htpR- cells. Under these various conditions, other heat shock proteins were also induced. Thus, the appearance of aberrant cell proteins may be a common signal under many adverse conditions for the induction of cell protease (or proteases) and other heat shock proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-595
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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