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Access to the article is free, however registration and sign-in are required. As Gottesman and Maurizi explain in their Perspective, it turns out that the Escherichia coli bacterium is anything but idle when its environment shifts from nutrient rich to nutrient poor. They discuss new findings showing that a string of phosphate residues in E. coli kicks the Lon protease into action. This enzyme then chops up ribosomal proteins to release free amino acids that are used to manufacture biosynthetic enzymes, which help the bacterium to adjust to its nutrient-poor environment (Kuroda et al.).
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