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    Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are genetic modules found commonly in bacterial genomes. HipA is a toxin protein encoded from the hipBA TA system in the genome of Escherichia coli. Ectopic expression of hipA induces cell growth arrest. Unlike the cell growth arrest caused by other TA toxins, cells resume growth from the HipA-induced cell growth arrest phase after a defined period of time. In this article, we describe the change in the length of growth arrest while cells undergo repeated cycles of hipA induction, growth arrest and regrowth phases. In the multiple conditions tested, we observed that the length of growth arrest became successively shorter for each round of induction. We verified that this was not due to the appearance of HipA-resistant mutants. Additionally, we identified conditions, such as the growth phase of the starting culture and growth vessels, that alter the length of growth arrest. Our results showed that the length of HipA-induced growth arrest was dependent on environmental factors-in particular, the past growth environment of cells, such as a previous hipA induction. These effects lasted even after multiple rounds of cell divisions, indicating the presence of cellular "memory" that impacts cells' response to HipA-induced toxicity.


    Chun-Yi Lin, Sanya Hamini, Peter Robert Tupa, Hisako Masuda. Cellular Memory of HipA-Induced Growth Arrest: The Length of Cell Growth Arrest Becomes Shorter for Each Successive Induction. Microorganisms. 2021 Dec 15;9(12)

    PMID: 34946194

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