The phenylalanyl-transfer ribonucleic acid synthetase of Escherichia coli is a tetramer that contains two different kinds of polypeptide chains. To locate the genes for the two polypeptides, we analyzed temperature-sensitive mutants with defective phenylalanyl-transfer ribonucleic acid synthetases to see which subunit was altered. The method was in vitro complementation; mutant cell extracts were mixed with purified separated alpha or beta subunits of the wild-type enzyme to generate an active hybrid enzyme. With three mutants, enzyme activity appeared when alpha was added, but not when beta was added: these are, therefore, assumed to carry lesions in the gene for the alpha subunit. Two other mutants gave the opposite response and are presumably beta mutants. Enzyme activity is also generated when alpha and beta mutant extracts are mixed, but not when two alpha or two beta mutant extracts are mixed. The inactive mutant enzymes appear to be dissociated, as judged by their sedimentation in sucrose density gradients, but the dissociation may be only partial. The active enzyme generated by complementation occurred in two forms, one that resembled the native wild-type enzyme and one that sedimented more slowly. Both alpha and beta mutants are capable of generating the native form, although alpha mutants require prior urea denaturation of the defective enzyme. With the mutants thus characterized, the genes for the alpha and beta subunits (designated pheS and heT, respectively) were mapped. The gene order, as determined by transduction is aroD-pps-pheT-pheS. The pheS and pheT genes are close together and may be immediately adjacent
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