Distribution of suboptimally induced β-d-galactosidase in Escherichia coli. The enzyme content of individual cells

Peter C. Maloney, Boris Rotman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Novick & Weiner (1957) proposed a model in which induction of the lac operon with suboptimal concentrations of inducer generates a population containing both uninduced and fully induced cells. The latter arise as cells acquire the galactoside transport system, thus initiating an autocatalytic cycle of induction since this permease can transport an inducer for its own synthesis. Evidence in favor of this model has been obtained from direct measurements of the enzyme content of individual cells, using a fluorogenic assay sensitive to one molecule of β-d-galactosidase. Fully induced cells, at the predicted frequency, were found in suboptimally induced populations of wild type strains, and of a strain lacking thiogalactoside transacetylase, but not of a strain lacking galactoside permease. In the wild type, the frequency of cells with an enzyme content intermediate between uninduced and fully induced levels was greater than the frequency predicted for cells within the autocatalytic cycle of induction. According to the model, then, in some of these cells, induction of β-d-galactosidase has occurred without formation of the permease necessary to initiate accumulation of inducer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-91
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Volume73
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1973

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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