Conjugal deoxyribonucleic acid replication by Escherichia coli K 12: effect of chloramphenicol and rifampin

R. G. Fenwick, R. Curtiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Conjugal replication of R64-11 deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and the concomitant transfer of R64-11 DNA to DNA deficient minicells are dependent upon processes that are inhibited by rifampin and chloramphenicol. The rifampin sensitive product is not present in vegetatively growing cells and is needed to initiate both conjugal DNA replication in donor cells and DNA transfer to recipient minicells. If the rifampin sensitive product is a ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecule (rather than RNA polymerase itself), the data indicate that this RNA species required for initiation of conjugal activity does not need to be translated into a protein product. The chloramphenicol sensitive product(s) is present in vegetatively growing cells in sufficient quantity to permit most donor cells to carry out one round of plasmic conjugal replication and transfer. The initiation of second and subsequent rounds of conjugal replication and transfer are dependent on the synthesis of both the rifampin sensitive and chloramphenicol sensitive products. The results demonstrate a correspondence between the amount of conjugal DNA replication in the donor and the amount of DNA transferred to recipient minicells under all conditions, and therefore suggest but do not prove that plasmid transfer is dependent on conjugal DNA replication. The results also add additional proof that R64-11 transfer to minicells is discontinuous. All of these results are discussed in regard to further refinements of old models for the mechanism of conjugal transfer as well as a more radical departure from current dogma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1224-1235
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1973

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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