The accumulation or ornithine, citrulline, and possibly acetylornithine by Escherichia coli K-12 arginineless mutants provided with acetylarginine as source of arginine causes severe growth inhibition. This occurs under conditions where comparable derivatives of E. coli W (Bollon and Vogel, 1973) show little or no growth inhibition. The same conditions, which have been reported to cause noncorrelative synthesis of acetylornithinase and argininosuccinase in E. coli W (Bollon and Vogel, 1973), do not alter the correlative pattern of enzyme synthesis observed in E. coli K-12. Moreover, previously reported effects of ornithine and citrulline on repression of the arginine regulon in E. coli W are not observed in the K-12 strains examined. The bearing of these observations on possible differences between the mechanism of enzyme repression operating in the two types of strains cannot yet be fully evaluated; it is, however, clear that considerable care should be exercised before extrapolating the results obtained with one type of strain to the other one. The particularly strong inhibition of acetylarginine utilization exerted by ornithine in E. coli K-12 allows the forward selection of several classes of arginine auxotrophs from strains deficient in carbamoylphosphate biosynthesis and thus capable of ornithine accumulation. Possible applications of this technique to the genetic analysis of the bipolar argECBH operon are discussed
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