The capacity of E. coli cells to regulate intracellular pH (pHi) during net potassium uptake has been investigated. The data show: (a) that cells sense their intracellular pH; (b) that the pH gradient (delta pH) exerts a feedback regulation on pHi; (c) that a mechanism of regulation of pHi exists which may be independent of Na+ [Zilberstein, Agmon, Schuldiner & Padan (1982) J. Biol. Chem. 257, 3687-3691]; and (d) that cells have a limited capacity to raise their intracellular pH in the absence of net K+ transport.

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