Summary: Plasmids were isolated from E colicinogenic strains and transformed into prototrophic K12 strain DB364. Screening of E colicinogenic transformants for growth on defined medium revealed an apparent amino acid auxotrophy mediated by E4 and, to a lesser extent, E colicin plasmids. The auxotrophy was further investigated in E4 colicinogenic strains. From such auxotrophic transformants, denoted Pmi (lasmid-ediated nhibition of growth). Pmi variants were obtained at a frequency of 3 x 10 per bacterium. Plasmid loss was not detected among Pmi clones. Isolation of E4 colicin plasmids from Pmi clones and re-transformation of strain DB364 with these plasmids showed that 40% of the plasmids were unable to inhibit growth of DB364 and were inferred to have alterations in an E4 colicin plasmid gene termed All such plasmids were indistinguishable from native E4 colicin plasmids, with respect to colicin immunity, colicin production and excretion, and sensitivity to lysis by mitom C. Experiments examining the nutritional basis of the plasmid-mediated auxotrophy indicated that at least seven amino acids, isoleucine, leucine, valine, arginine, methionine, serine and glycine, were involved in the auxotrophy. However, supplementation with only these seven amino acids did not completely restore growth. Assays of the activities of enzymes involved in amino acid biosynthesis in colicinogenic and non-colicinogenic strains under repressing and derepressing growth conditions suggested that E4 colicin plasmids did not repress synthesis of the implicated amino acids.


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