Bacterial Mg2+ homeostasis, transport, and virulence

Eduardo A. Groisman, Kerry Hollands, Michelle A. Kriner, Eun Jin Lee, Sun Yang Park, Mauricio H. Pontes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


Organisms must maintain physiological levels of Mg2+ because this divalent cation is critical for the stabilization of membranes and ribosomes, for the neutralization of nucleic acids, and as a cofactor in a variety of enzymatic reactions. In this review, we describe the mechanisms that bacteria utilize to sense the levels of Mg2+ both outside and inside the cytoplasm. We examine how bacteria achieve Mg2+ homeostasis by adjusting the expression and activity of Mg2+ transporters and by changing the composition of their cell envelope. We discuss the connections that exist between Mg2+ sensing, Mg2+ transport, and bacterial virulence. Additionally, we explore the logic behind the fact that bacterial genomes encode multiple Mg2+ transporters and distinct sensing systems for cytoplasmic and extracytoplasmic Mg2+. These analyses may be applicable to the homeostatic control of other cations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-646
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • ATP
  • CorA
  • Gene regulation
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • MgtA
  • MgtB
  • MgtE
  • PhoP/PhoQ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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