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J Bacteriol. Mar 1974; 117(3): 1065–1076.
PMCID: PMC246585

Mutants of Escherichia coli Defective in Membrane Phospholipid Synthesis: Macromolecular Synthesis in an sn-Glycerol 3-Phosphate Acyltransferase Km Mutant


sn-Glycerol 3-phosphate (G3P) auxotrophs of Escherichia coli have been selected from a strain which cannot aerobically catabolize G3P. The auxotrophy resulted from loss of the biosynthetic G3P dehydrogenase (EC or from a defective membranous G3P acyltransferase. The apparent Km of the acyltransferase for G3P was 11- to 14-fold higher (from about 90 μm to 1,000 to 1,250 μm) in membrane preparations from the mutants than those of the parent. All extracts prepared from revertants of the G3P dehydrogenase mutants showed G3P dehydrogenase activity, but most contained less than 10% of the wild-type level. Membrane preparations from revertants of the acyltransferase mutants had apparent Km's for G3P similar to that of the parent. Strains have been derived in which the G3P requirement can be satisfied with glycerol in the presence of glucose, presumably because the glycerol kinase was desensitized to inhibition by fructose 1,6-diphosphate. Investigations on the growth and macromolecular synthesis in a G3P acyltransferase Km mutant revealed that upon glycerol deprivation, net phospholipid synthesis stopped immediately; growth continued for about one doubling; net ribonucleic acid (RNA), deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and protein nearly doubled paralleling the growth curve; the rate of phospholipid synthesis assessed by labeling cells with 32P-phosphate, 14C-acetate, or 3H-serine was reduced greater than 90%; the rates of RNA and DNA synthesis increased as the cells grew and then decreased as the cells stopped growing; the rate of protein synthesis showed no increase and declined more slowly than the rates of RNA and DNA synthesis when the cells stopped growing. The cells retained and gained in the capacity to synthesize phospholipids upon glycerol deprivation. These data indicate that net phospholipid synthesis is not required for continued macromolecular synthesis for about one doubling, and that the rates of these processes are not coupled during this time period.

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Selected References

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