Activities of five enzymes of the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway and one enzyme involved in arginine synthesis were measured during batch culture of Aspartate carbamoyltransferase, dihydroorotase, and the arginine pathway enzyme, ornithine carbamoyltransferase, remained constant during the growth cycle but showed a sharp decrease in activity after entering the stationary phase. Dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, orotate phosphoribosyltransferase and orotidine-5′-monophosphate (OMP) decarboxylase showed peaks of activity corresponding to the mid-point of the exponential phase of growth while remaining comparatively stable in the stationary phase. Derepression studies carried out by starving individual pyrimidine (Pyr) deletion mutants for uracil showed that the extent of derepression obtained for aspartate carbamoyltransferase, dihydroorotase and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase depended on the location of the gene mutation. Orotate phosphoribosyltransferase and OMP decarboxylase derepression levels were independent of the location of the mutation. Aspartate carbamoyltransferase showed the greatest degree of derepression of the six enzymes studied, with strains (blocked in the first step of the pathway) showing about twice as much derepression as strains (blocked in the sixth step of the pathway). A study of the kinetics of repression on derepressed levels of the pyrimidine enzymes produced data that were compatible with dilution of specific activity by cell division when repressive amounts of uracil were added to the derepression medium.


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