A family of mutants of Salmonella typhimurium with altered lipopolysaccharide (LPS) core chain lengths were assessed for sensitivity to freeze-thaw and other stresses. Deep rough strains with decreased chain length in the LPS core were more susceptible to novobiocin, polymyxin B, bacitracin, and sodium lauryl sulfate during growth, to ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and sodium lauryl sulfate in resting suspension, and to slow and rapid freeze-thaw in water and saline, and these strains exhibited more outer membrane damage than the wild type or less rough strains. Variations in the LPS chain length did not dramatically affect the sensitivity of the strains to tetracycline, neomycin, or NaCl in growth conditions or the degree of freeze-thaw-induced cytoplasmic membrane damage. The deeper rough isogenic strains incorporated larger quantities of less-stable LPS and less protein into the outer membrane than did the wild type or less rough mutants, indicating that the mutations affected outer membrane synthesis or organization or both. Nikaido's model of the role of LPS and protein in determining the resistance of gram-negative bacteria to low-molecular-weight hydrophobic antibiotics is discussed in relation to the stress of freeze-thaw
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