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Microbiology. 2003 Mar;149(Pt 3):729-37.

Correlation of the rate of protein synthesis and the third power of the RNA : protein ratio in Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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  • 1Division of Mycobacterial Research, National Institute for Medical Research, London NW7 1AA, UK.


In order to further understand the different physiological states of the tubercle bacillus, a frame of reference was sought by first correlating the macromolecular compositions of Escherichia coli with specific growth rates and also with the rates of protein synthesis. Data for DNA : protein : RNA were converted to the average amounts of DNA [m(DNA(av))], protein [m(p(av))] and RNA [m(RNA(av))] per cell. The specific growth rate micro was found to be directly proportional to m(RNA(av))/m(p(av)). The specific protein synthesis rate per average cell [omega(p(av))] was shown to be directly proportional to the third power of the ratio m(RNA(av))/m(p(av)) which reflects the ribosome concentration. The equations derived were shown apply to both E. coli ( micro =1.73 h(-1)) and Mycobacterium bovis BCG ( micro =0.029 h(-1)).

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