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Direct correlation between overproduction of guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate (ppGpp) and penicillin tolerance in Escherichia coli.

By D G Rodionov and E E Ishiguro

Abstract

The penicillin tolerance exhibited by amino acid-deprived Escherichia coli has been previously proposed to be a consequence of the stringent response. Evidence indicating that penicillin tolerance is directly attributable to guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate (ppGpp) overproduction and not to some other effect of amino acid deprivation is now presented. Accumulation of ppGpp in the absence of amino acid deprivation was achieved by the controlled overexpression of the cloned relA gene, which encodes ppGpp synthetase I. The overproduction of ppGpp resulted in the inhibition of both peptidoglycan and phospholipid synthesis and in penicillin tolerance. The minimum concentration of ppGpp required to establish these phenomena was determined to be 870 pmol per mg (dry weight) of cells. This represented about 70% of the maximum level of ppGpp accumulated during the stringent response. Penicillin tolerance and the inhibition of peptidoglycan synthesis were both suppressed when ppGpp accumulation was prevented by treatment with chloramphenicol, an inhibitor of ppGpp synthetase I activation. Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase, the product of plsB, was recently identified as the main site of ppGpp inhibition in phospholipid synthesis (R. J. Health, S. Jackowski, and C. O. Rock, J. Biol. Chem. 269:26584-26590, 1994). The overexpression of the cloned plsB gene reversed the penicillin tolerance conferred by ppGpp accumulation. This result supports previous observations indicating that the membrane-associated events in peptidoglycan metabolism were dependent on ongoing phospholipid synthesis. Interestingly, treatment with beta-lactam antibiotics by itself induced ppGpp accumulation, but the maximum levels attained were insufficient to confer penicillin tolerance

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1995
DOI identifier: 10.1128/jb.177.15.4224-4229.1995
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:177166
Provided by: PubMed Central
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