The mode of action of the antibiotic pseudomonic acid has been studied in Escherichia coli. Pseudomonic acid strongly inhibits protein and RNA synthesis in vivo. The antibiotic had no effect on highly purified DNA-dependent RNA polymerase and showed only a weak inhibitory effect on a poly(U)-directed polyphenylalanine-forming ribosomal preparation. Chloramphenicol reversed inhibition of RNA synthesis in vivo. Pseudomonic acid had little effect on RNA synthesis in a regulatory mutant, E. coli B AS19 RCrel, whereas protein synthesis was strongly inhibited. In pseudomonic acid-treated cells, increased concentrations of ppGpp, pppGpp and ATP were observed, but the GTP pool size decreased, suggesting that inhibition of RNA synthesis is a consequence of the stringent control mechanism imposed by pseudomonic acid-induced deprivation of an amino acid. Of the 20 common amino acids, only isoleucine reversed the inhibitory effect in vivo. The antibiotic was found to be a powerful inhibitor of isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase both in vivo and in vitro. Of seven other tRNA synthetases assayed, only a weak inhibitory effect on phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase was observed; this presumably accounted for the weak effect on polyphenylalanine formation in a ribosomal preparation. Pseudomonic acid also significantly de-repressed threonine deaminase and transaminase B activity, but not dihydroxyacid dehydratase (isoleucine-biosynthetic enzymes) by decreasing the supply of aminoacylated tRNAIle. Pseudomonic acid is the second naturally occurring inhibitor of bacterial isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase to be discovered, furanomycin being the first.

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