Accumulation of aminoglycoside antibiotics by bacteria requires energy, and it appears that this must be derived from electron transport occurring within the cytoplasmic membrane. Dependence of aminoglycoside accumulation on cellular menaquinone content was examined using a menaquinone auxotroph of . This dependence manifested itself only when the menaquinone concentration was decreased to less than 10% of normal. The restricted aminoglycoside accumulation observed under these conditions was closely correlated with susceptibility to growth inhibition by the antibiotics. Evidence of saturation of the accumulation system was observed at low menaquinone concentrations, an effect not seen when menaquinone deficiency was relieved by supplying adequate shikimic acid (a menaquinone precursor) to the auxotroph. Lipophilic quinones may play two roles in aminoglycoside accumulation by bacteria: (i) as a binding site or part of a carrier complex; and (ii) as a crucial component of the electron transport system in maintaining the proton electrochemical gradient.


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