Inhibition of DNA replication in Escherichia coli by cyanide and carbon monoxide

P. H. Weigel, P. T. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The inhibition of DNA replication in aerobically growing E. coli by cyanide or carbon monoxide occurs within about 20 sec at 15°. This rapid inhibition can be explained by the nearly complete depletion of both intracellular ATP and deoxynucleoside triphosphates which occurs during the time that replication stops. There is probably no direct effect of carbon monoxide on any of the enzymes involved in replication because this reagent has no effect on replication rate or ATP level in anaerobic cells. These cells produce ATP by glycolysis. The inhibition of replication by cyanide, a highly reactive compound, appears to be more complex since anaerobically growing cells can still be completely inhibited, although higher concentrations are required than for aerobically growing cells. The sensitivity of anaerobic cells to cyanide is probably due to the ability of this highly reactive compound to react nonspecifically with many proteins and other molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8536-8542
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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