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Biochem J. Oct 1973; 136(2): 225–234.
PMCID: PMC1165948

The effect of trimethoprim on macromolecular synthesis in Escherichia coli. General effects on ribonucleic acid and protein synthesis

Abstract

In trimethoprim-inhibited RCstr strains of Escherichia coli, the expression of the RC control of stable RNA synthesis arose primarily from a decrease in the intracellular concentrations of glycine and methionine, and not from inhibition of the initiation of new protein chains. In non-supplemented cultures, experiments with rifampicin showed that the immediate response to the addition of trimethoprim was a rapid decrease in the rate of initiation of RNA chains. This was followed after a few minutes by a sufficiently large fall in the rate of endogenous synthesis of nucleotide bases to cause a decrease in the rate of RNA chain polymerization. Inhibition of RNA chain initiation was thus overridden by an accumulation of DNA-dependent RNA polymerases upon the cistrons. RCrel strains also accumulated polymerases upon the DNA in similar circumstances, but did not suffer the initial effects on chain initiation. If purines were supplied before adding trimethoprim, RCstr strains polymerized RNA chains at normal rates, but initiation rates were permanently decreased. In either situation, an increased% of the RNA formed was mRNA. However, in RCrel strains supplemented with bases, trimethoprim did not affect either the rate of initiation of new chains or their rates of polymerization or the relative rates of synthesis of stable RNA and mRNA. Protein synthesis was also severely inhibited by trimethoprim. Though the addition of glycine and methionine to base-supplemented, trimethoprim-inhibited RCstr strains did not apparently affect the decreased rate of protein synthesis, RNA accumulation resumed at its normal rate. Thus, the inhibition of protein chain initiation had no effect on the rate of RNA accumulation in either RCstr or RCrel bacteria. The RC control does not express itself through inhibitions of protein synthesis at this level.

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Selected References

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