The synthesis of acetate kinase by Escherichia coli ATCC 9637 was studied during growth in anaerobic continuous cultures under steady-state and transient conditions. During growth in anaerobic, glucose-limited chemostats, acetate kinase synthesis was linearly associated with growth. Two types of non-steady-state transients were studied: the perturbation in one was the addition of glucose alone, and, in the second, glucose plus Casamino Acids. During the nutritional shift-up in the second case, but not in the first, the instantaneous specific acetate kinase activities and specific synthesis rates exceeded pre- and postshift values. Trajectory curves demonstrated that the increase in specific activity remained within the bounds of values obtainable under steady-state conditions with minimal and Casamino Acids media. Specific synthesis rates, however, greatly exceeded steady-state values. Enzyme yield values on glucose after the transient nutritional shift-up increased up to fivefold. Active protein synthesis is shown to be necessary to achieve the enhanced specific synthesis rates and enzyme yields. The results from these transient responses are discussed in terms of a conceptful model for metabolic regulation
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