Synthesis and turnover of basal level guanosine tetraphosphate in Escherichia coli

Friesen, J.D.; Fiil, N.P.; von Meyenburg, K.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 250(1): 304-309


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9258
PMID: 1095568
Accession: 041520257

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Cultures of escherichia coli growing exponentially in Trisacetate medium were subjected to nutritional shift-up and the pool size of guanosine 5'-3'-diphosphate-3'diphosphate (ppGpp) as well as the rates of protein synthesis and net RNA synthesis were determined. In the shift to a rich medium (glucose plus 19 amino acids plus hypoxanthine) the basal level of ppGpp falls immediately with a decay constant suggesting total inhibition of synthesis; ther is no ppGpp detectable above background for 30 to 40 min. The net rate of RNA synthesis starts to increase within 1 min of the shift-up and has reached its definite postshift value well before the pool of ppGGpp rises above background lvel. In a shift-up from Tris-acetate medium to Tris-glucose medium there is a much slower readjustment of the ppGpp pool size without the transient disappearance of the nucleotide. However, in a shift-up to Tris-acetate plus 5 amino acids, a medium which supports the same growth rate as Tris-glucose medium, a dramatic, transient drop in the ppGpp pool level was observed. Relaxed cells exhibit very similar behavior to strigent cells in the same shift-up. Our data argue strongly against an exclusive role for pGpp in regulating RNA synthesis during niutritional shift-up. The kinetic data of [3H]guanosine uptake into GTP and ppGpp pools were analyzed to determine the rate of pGpp synthesis. This rate was found to be similar during expotential growth in either Tris-acetate medium. During a shift-down from Tris-glucose to Tris-acetate medium the rate of ppGpp syntesis fell by a factor of 1.5 to 2 and the turnover rate is reduced 6- to 8-fold, suggesting that the expansion in the ppGp pool during shift-down canot be due to derepression of synthesis.