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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1994 Oct 18;1219(2):425-34.

Functional interactions between translation, transcription and ppGpp in growing Escherichia coli.

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Department of Microbiology, Stockholm University, Sweden.


Strains with a relA mutation together with three different alleles of spoT were used to study the effects of different levels of ppGpp on production time for beta-galactosidase, transcriptional polarity and readthrough of a stop codon by near-cognate tRNA or a suppressor tRNA. The influences of an rpsL(S12) allele and a miaA mutation, together giving decreased efficiency of translation, as well as an rpoB mutation, coding for an altered RNA polymerase, were also investigated. The spoT alleles which give total deficiency for ppGpp, or a level which is increased several-fold (Sarubbi et al. (1988) Mol. Gen. Genet. 213, 214-222), had at the most a marginal effect on the production time for a beta-galactosidase molecule or translational misreading of a nonsense mutation. The efficiency of an amber tRNA suppressor is not affected by ppGpp in strains with an otherwise wildtype translational machinery. These data suggest that ppGpp does not influence directly the translational process in vivo. Instead, ppGpp is found to interfere with transcriptional readthrough in a manner which is dependent on the rpsL224, miaA, as well as the rpoB mutations. Similarly, bacterial growth is affected by ppGpp in a manner which is dependent on properties of both the transcriptional and translational apparatus together. It is suggested that the primary effect of ppGpp is on transcriptional readthrough, but this effect is modified by translational/transcriptional coupling.

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