Chapter 8 : Morphing Chemistry into Microbial Physiology

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One expects bacterial growth to be slow based on chemical principles, but at a certain low temperature--the minimum temperature for growth—growth stops completely. The author's studies showed that many things go wrong simultaneously at the minimum temperature of growth, and metabolism therefore stops completely. By isolating and studying mutant strains with an increased minimum temperature of growth (called as cold-sensitive mutants), it was possible to determine what single change increased the minimum temperature of growth of one particular mutant strain. The author isolated cold-sensitive mutants of that were unable to grow below 20°C (the minimum temperature for growth of wild type is 8°C). In these mutants, biosynthesis of histidine was cold sensitive. The mutations causing this type of cold sensitivity lay in —the gene encoding the enzyme that catalyzes the first step of the pathway, the one sensitive to feedback inhibition by free histidine. The phenomenon of change in regulatory responses of proteins with temperature proved to be a general one; however, one cannot predict whether regulation becomes more or less severe as temperature is lowered. From the study of cold-sensitive mutants, the author concluded that bacteria stops growing at low temperature because weakening of hydrophobic bonds causes conformational changes in proteins that preclude growth largely by distorting regulation or stopping assembly processes.

Citation: Ingraham J. 2000. Morphing Chemistry into Microbial Physiology, p 61-65. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch8
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Citation: Ingraham J. 2000. Morphing Chemistry into Microbial Physiology, p 61-65. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch8
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1. Ingraham, J. L.,, and C. A. Ingraham. 2000. Introduction to Microbiology ( 2nd ed.). Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., Pacific Grove, Calif..
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8. Shaw, M. K.,, A. G. Marr,, and J. L. Ingraham. 1971. Determination of the minimal temperature for growth of Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriol. 105: 683 684.
9. Hoffmann, B.,, and J. L. Ingraham. 1970. A cold-sensitive mutant of Salmonella typhimurium which requires tryptophan for growth at 20 degrees. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 201: 300 308.
10. Squires, C. K.,, and J. L. Ingraham. 1969. Mutant of Escherichia coli exhibiting a cold-sensitive phenotype for growth on lactose. J. Bacteriol. 97: 488 494.
11. O'Donovan, G. A.,, and J. L. Ingraham. 1965. Cold-sensitive mutants of Escherichia coli resulting from increased feedback inhibition. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 54: 451 457.

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