Micro-organisms react to a rapid temperature downshift by triggering a physiological response to ensure survival in unfavourable conditions. Adaptation includes changes in membrane composition and in the translation and transcription machineries. The cold shock response leads to a growth block and overall repression of translation; however, there is the induction of a set of specific proteins that help to tune cell metabolism and readjust it to the new conditions. For a mesophile like E. coli, the adaptation process takes about 4 h. Although the bacterial cold shock response was discovered over two decades ago we are still far from understanding this process. In this review, we aim to describe current knowledge, focusing on the functions of RNA-interacting proteins and RNases involved in cold shock adaptation.
Isoprenoid lipid carriers are essential in protein glycosylation and bacterial cell envelope biosynthesis. The enzymes involved in their metabolism (synthases, kinases and phosphatases) are therefore critical to cell viability. In this review, we focus on two broad groups of isoprenoid pyrophosphate phosphatases. One group, containing phosphatidic acid phosphatase motifs, includes the eukaryotic dolichyl pyrophosphate phosphatases and proposed recycling bacterial undecaprenol pyrophosphate phosphatases, PgpB, YbjB and YeiU/LpxT. The second group comprises the bacterial undecaprenol pyrophosphate phosphatase, BacA/UppP, responsible for initial formation of undecaprenyl phosphate, which we predict contains a tyrosine phosphate phosphatase motif resembling that of the tumour suppressor, phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN). Based on protein sequence alignments across species and 2D structure predictions, we propose catalytic and lipid recognition motifs unique to BacA/UppP enzymes. The verification of our proposed active-site residues would provide new strategies for the development of substrate-specific inhibitors which mimic both the lipid and pyrophosphate moieties, leading to the development of novel antimicrobial agents.