RpoB mutation in Escherichia coli alters control of ribosome synthesis by guanosine tetraphosphate

Little, R.; Ryals, J.; Bremer, H.

Journal of Bacteriology 154(2): 787-792


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9193
PMID: 6188747
Accession: 044999702

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An isogenic pair of relA+ and relA strains of Escherichia coli B/r with a mutation in the RNA polymerase subunit gene rpoB (Rifr) was isolated in which the relationship between guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp) concentration and stable RNA (rRNA, tRNA) gene activity was altered. The RNA polymerase in the rpoB strains was found to be about 20-fold more sensitive to ppGpp with respect to its stable RNA promoter activity than was the wild-type enzyme. The existence of such mutants is consistent with the idea that ppGpp interacts with the RNA polymerase enzyme and thereby alters its promoter selectivity, i.e., reduces its affinity for the stable RNA promoters. Under most conditions, the rpoB mutants had a reduced rate of growth and about a 10-fold-reduced intracellular concentration of ppGpp compared with the rpoB wild-type strains. The reduction of the level of ppGpp in the rpoB mutants during exponential growth was presumably a reflection of an indirect effect of the rpoB mutation on the control of relA-independent ppGpp metabolism.