Five temperature-sensitive chlC mutants were isolated from Escherichia coli by the technique of localized mutagenesis. All of the mutants produced severely reduced levels of both nitrate reductase and formate dehydrogenase when grown at 43 degrees C. In three of the mutants, the nitrate reductase activity produced at the permissive temperature was shown to be thermolabile compared with the activity produced by the parent wild-type strain, both in membrane preparations and in preparations released from the membrane by deoxycholate. In each case, formate dehydrogenase activity was similar to the wild-type activity in its stability to heat. It is concluded that the chlC gene codes for at least one of the polypeptide chains of nitrate reductase and that the chlC mutations affect indirectly the formation of formate dehydrogenase
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