Pleiotropic effect of sodium arsenite on Escherichia coli

Laura Gualco, Simona Roveta, Anna Marchese, Eugenio A. Debbia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of sodium arsenite at a sub-MIC concentration (25 mg/l) upon different bacterial functions were studied. This compound reduced the killing activity of nalidixic acid, amikacin, and meropenem. It also promoted the loss of F'lac from bacterial hosts and increased the number of recombinants in conjugation and transduction experiments. Transposition of Tn9 was also enhanced by the salt. In addition, sodium arsenite abolished the lethal effect of temperature on thermosusceptible DNA synthesis mutants in a similar manner to that seen in an anaerobic environment. Finally at a low dose, it induced the SOS response, and the related production of recA-dependent enzymes was reduced as the sodium arsenite concentration increased. It has been suggested that arsenite primarily affects the uvrA gene product, influencing the other bacterial functions studied. The energetic depletion caused by this compound appears to play a role in the activity of autolytic enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • Antagonistic activity against drugs and temperature
  • Recombination
  • Sodium arsenite
  • SOS induction
  • Transposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Microbiology

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