Envelope Stress Responses: An Interconnected Safety Net.
The Escherichia coli cell envelope is a protective barrier at the frontline of interaction with the environment. Fidelity of envelope biogenesis must be monitored to establish and maintain a contiguous barrier. Indeed, the envelope must also be repaired and modified in response to environmental assaults. Envelope stress responses (ESRs) sense envelope damage or defects and alter the transcriptome to mitigate stress. Here, we review recent insights into the stress-sensing mechanisms of the σ and Cpx systems and the interaction of these ESRs. Small RNAs (sRNAs) are increasingly prominent regulators of the transcriptional response to stress. These fast-acting regulators also provide avenues for inter-ESR regulation that could be important when cells face multiple contemporaneous stresses, as is the case during infection.