Coupling of rates of transcription, translation, and messenger ribonucleic acid degradation in streptomycin-dependent mutants of Escherichia coli.
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The growth rates of streptomycin-dependent mutants varied in proportion to the level of streptomycin supplied; growth also varied characteristically from one dependent strain to another at a given streptomycin concentration. When cells growing at different rates (over a threefold range) were treated with rifampin, direct proportionality was observed for three parameters: (i) the rates of shutoff of transcription of total ribonucleic acid (RNA) and ribosomal RNA, as measured by pulse labeling at later times; (ii) the translation time for molecules of beta-galactosidase; and (iii) the rate of chemical degradation of messenger RNA. In contrast, the rate of functional inactivation of both total and beta-galactosidase messenger RNA was about the same at all growth rates. None of the variations of growth or other parameters were observed in an otherwise isogenic streptomycin-resistant strain treated with streptomycin. Since the mutational change in strd mutants and the site of action of streptomycin are in the 30S ribosomal subunits, it is suggested that the rate of ribosome function is set by the dependent lesion (and the level of streptomycin). One possibility is that the other correlated effects are mechanistically "coupled" to ribosome function, but the apparent coupling could also be an indirect result of differential effects of streptomycin on variables such as ribosomal miscoding and nucleotide pool size. However, since the rate of functional inactivation of messenger RNA is constant even when the RNA is broken down two- to fourfold more slowly, translation yield tends to be proportional to the growth rate of the dependent strains.
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