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Polyamine deficiency reduces the rate of DNA replication fork movement in Escherichia coli

Nature volume 272, pages 730732 (20 April 1978) | Download Citation

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Abstract

STUDIES with microbial mutants1–3 and animal cells4,5 have shown that spermidine and spermine , and perhaps their biosynthetic precursor putrescine, are required for optimal cell proliferation. Mutants of Escherichia coli blocked in the synthesis of putrescine provide an important tool with which to study the cellular function of these compounds. Previous work suggested a defect in DNA replication during starvation for polyamines; infection of spermidine-starved E. coli with bacteriophage T4 resulted in a submaximal rate of DNA accumulation6, while polyamine-limited growth of E. coli resulted in about twice as much DNA per cell as expected from the growth rate2. Also, increased cellular DNA has been seen during thymine-limited chromosome replication7 and in strains possessing mutations in the rep locus8. In both cases, this change in cellular composition seemed to be due to a reduced rate of replication fork movement and an increased number of forks per cell9,10. We show here that the abnormally high DNA content during polyamine limitation also seems to be the result of decreased replication fork velocity.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195

    • LEE E. GEIGER
    •  & DAVID R. MORRIS

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https://doi.org/10.1038/272730a0

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