Gene expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa exposed to hydroxyl-radicals

Noa Aharoni, Hadas Mamane, Dvora Biran, Anat Lakretz, Eliora Z. Ron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies have shown the efficiency of hydroxyl radicals generated via ultraviolet (UV)-based advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) combined with hydrogen peroxide (UV/H2O2) as a treatment process in water. The effects of AOP treatments on bacterial gene expression was examined using Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 as a model-organism bacterium. Many bacterial genes are not expressed all the time, but their expression is regulated. The regulation is at the beginning of the gene, in a genetic region called “promoter” and affects the level of transcription (synthesis of messenger RNA) and translation (synthesis of protein). The level of expression of the regulated genes can change as a function of environmental conditions, and they can be expressed more (induced, upregulated) or less (downregulated). Exposure of strain PAO1 to UV/H2O2 treatment resulted in a major change in gene expression, including elevated expression of several genes. One interesting gene is PA3237, which was significantly upregulated under UV/H2O2 as compared to UV or H2O2 treatments alone. The induction of this gene is probably due to formation of radicals, as it is abolished in the presence of the radical scavenger tert-butanol (TBA) and is seen even when the bacteria are added after the treatment (post-treatment exposure). Upregulation of the PA3237 promoter could also be detected using a reporter gene, suggesting the use of such genetic constructs to develop biosensors for monitoring AOPs in water-treatment plants. Currently biosensors for AOPs do not exist, consequently impairing the ability to monitor these processes on-line according to radical exposure in natural waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Advanced oxidation processes
  • Biosensors
  • Gene expression
  • Hydroxyl radical
  • P. aeruginosa
  • Water treatment


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