Sulfometuron methyl is a potent and specific inhibitor of acetolactate synthase II in Salmonella typhimurium. Mutant strains sensitive to sulfometuron methyl on minimal medium were isolated following mutagenesis with Tn10. A conditionally auxotrophic insertion mutant, strain SMS409, which required aspartate at high temperatures or in the presence of tyrosine, was found among the 15 mutants isolated. The Tn10 insertion in strain SMS409 was mapped by conjugation and transduction to the region between aroA and pncB at 20 min on the chromosome of S. typhimurium; this location is similar to the genetic location of aspC in Escherichia coli. The specific activity of the aspC product, aspartate aminotransferase, was severely reduced in strain SMS409. This indicated that the Tn10 insertion in strain SMS409 inactivated aspC. An aspC mutant of E. coli was also inhibited by either sulfometuron methyl or tyrosine. We present a hypothesis which relates the observed alpha-ketobutyrate accumulation in sulfometuron methyl-inhibited cultures of strain SMS409 to aspartate starvation
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