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Bacterial Stress Responses, Second Edition
Edited by: Gisela Storz and Regine Hengge
Pages: 540 
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1555816216
ASM Press  2011


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Medical Science Books Medical Book Review:

     Currently, both the scientific and popular press are reeling with reports of a newly discovered strain of bacteria (GFA-J1) which incorporates arsenic into its genetic material.  The implications this unique structural feature might have on our view of the cellular and molecular processes by which bacteria adapt to their environment remain to be uncovered by further research.  What we can say for sure, however, is that any new data set to elucidate these mechanisms based on further study of these “arsenic-incorporating” bacteria will need to be interpreted in the context of the substantial amount of research already done on a number of more common organisms.

     Bacterial Stress Responses 2nd edition, more than any other text in the field, serves as a concise synopsis of what is known at this time regarding the subcellular mechanisms which control bacterial survival.  The obvious focus is on post-transcriptional control strategies of key metabolic and structural factors which help retain the viability of these sometimes ubiquitous prokaryotes.  Both the general stress response and particular stresses are covered in impressive depth given the relative brevity of the book.  The editors and chapter authors have done an excellent job of synthesizing data from numerous studies that utilized a variety of bacterial species. 

     The underlying molecular principles discussed throughout the text were made more apparent and easily understood by giving a thorough introduction to the concept of the Transcription Regulatory Network (TRN).  Many resources assume familiarity with the network concept and common terms like cis-regulatory element (CRE).  This assumption most likely turns away a good number of readers, mostly students, in search of information regarding genetic control mechanisms.  Therefore this text, by providing a good overview, opens up new avenues of investigation and will set the stage for interpreting findings from the primary literature.  This is not to say that the balance of coverage is tipped solely in favor of the beginner.  On the contrary, experienced researchers who are likely to have had read widely from the cited references can also benefit from the “whole picture” perspective by seeing where their work fits in more clearly.

     This is a significant work in the field of bacteriology with information that crosses many lines of seemingly specialized research.  Depending on the particular needs of instructors, this text could easily be used in advanced undergraduate or graduate classes and seminars.  Established researchers in molecular and cellular biology will also enjoy having access to a well-referenced work on genetic control mechanisms in one handy volume.  In addition, clinicians specializing in infectious disease who wish to remain attuned to new developments in antimicrobial agents will find this book useful because the majority of novel drug targets will no doubt be identified through the bacterial stress model of research.

 Joseph V. Russo, M.S.

Description from the publisher:

The second edition of the highly acclaimed Bacterial Stress Responses incorporates and reviews the vast number of new findings that have greatly advanced the understanding of bacterial stress responses in the decade since the publication of the first edition. Readers will discover how this improved understanding not only enhances our knowledge of all cellular regulation at the molecular level, but also provides new ammunition in the fight against pathogens and helps optimize the use of bacteria in biotechnology.


The first section explores general regulatory principles, including the latest findings from genomics studies. In the second and third sections readers will learn how much more researchers have discovered about both specific and general stress responses. Next, the fourth section reviews how stress responses affect the interactions between bacteria and host cells. The fifth section describes bacterial stress responses in different niches and communities, with an emphasis on extreme environments. The final section examines how our growing understanding of bacterial stress responses can be used to better combat bacterial infection with antibiotics and improve biofuel production and bioremediation.


All chapters have been contributed by leaders and pioneers in their respective fields and then carefully edited to ensure conciseness and clarity. With its coverage of a broad range of model organisms as well as biotechnologically, medically, and environmentally relevant bacteria, this new edition fully encapsulates our understanding of bacterial stress responses. Moreover, it serves as a springboard for new investigations and new applications.

New in the Second Edition

·       Incorporates new fields such as network analysis, metagenomics, and regulatory RNAs

·       Examines new findings from genomics studies that have changed our understanding of regulation

·       Explains how new findings from bacterial stress response studies facilitate the development of antibiotics

·       Discusses the latest efforts to exploit bacterial stress responses for biofuel production and bioremediation

·       Presents significant insights into how bacteria survive stress conditions by undergoing changes of state, morphology, or cell surface


More Key Features

·       Features contributors who are leaders in the investigation of bacterial stress responses and the development of new applications based on new findings

·       Serves as a gateway to the literature in the field

·       Highlights important directions for future research
Hardcover, 522 pages, illustrations, index.



Table of Contents

I.  General Principles

Chapter 1.  Structure and Evolution of Transcriptional Regulatory Networks

Chapter 2.  Architecture and Dynamics of Transcriptional Networks

Chapter 3.  Regulation by Alternative Sigma Factors

Chapter 4.  The Role of Two-Component Transduction Systems in Bacterial Stress Responses

Chapter 5.  Roles of mRNA Stability, Translational Regulation, and Small RNAs in Stress Response Regulation

Chapter 6.  Role of Proteolysis and Chaperones in Stress Response and Regulation

II.  Specific Stress Responses

Chapter 7.  Cellular Response to Heat Shock and Cold Shock

Chapter 8.  Envelope Stress

Chapter 9.  Osmotic Stress

Chapter 10.  Sensing and Responding to Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species

Chapter 11.  Global Responses of Bacteria to Oxygen Deprivation

Chapter 12.  Sensing Metals:  the Versatility of Fur

Chapter 13.  The DNA Damage Response

III.  General Stress Responses

Chapter 14.  The Stringent Response

Chapter 15.  The General Stress Response in Gram-Negative Bacteria

Chapter 16.  The General Stress Response in Alphaproteobacteria

Chapter 17.  The General Stress Response in Bacillus subtilis and Related Gram-Positive Bacteria

Chapter 18.  Resistance of Bacterial Spores

Chapter 19.  Protection Against Foreign DNA

Chapter 20.  More Than Just a Quorum:  Integration of Stress and Other Environmental Cues in Acyl-Homoserine  Lactone Signaling

Chapter 21.  Biofilms

Chapter 22.  Persister Bacteria

IV.  Pathogenic Responses

Chapter 23.  Bacterial Responses to the Host Cell

Chapter 24.  Phase Variation

Chapter 25.  Metamicrobiology:  Analyzing Microbial Behavior at the Community Level

Chapter 26.  Life at the Extremes of Temperature

Chapter 27.  Comparative Genomics of Stress Response Systems in Deinococcus Bacteria

VI.  Applications of Stress Response Studies

Chapter 28.  Redox Mechanisms and Reactive Oxygen Species in Antibiotic Action and Resistance

Chapter 29.  Applications of Stress Response Studies Biofuel Production

Chapter 30.  Microbial Bioremediation of Chemical Pollutants:  How Bacteria Cope with Multi-Stress Environmental Scenarios