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Protein Synthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv and the Effect of Streptomycin in Streptomycin-Susceptible and -Resistant Strains

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Microbiology & Cell Biology
  • Biology


An efficient in vitro amino acid-incorporating system from Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv was standardized. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) isolated from phage-infected M. smegmatis cells served as natural messenger RNA and directed the incorporation of 14C-amino acids into protein. The effects of various antitubercular drugs and “known inhibitors” of protein synthesis on amino acid incorporation were studied. Antibiotics like chloramphenicol and tetracycline inhibited mycobacterial protein synthesis, though they failed to prevent the growth of the organism. This failure was shown to be due to the impermeability of mycobacteria to these drugs by use of “membrane-active” agents along with the antibiotics in growth inhibition studies. Several independent streptomycin-resistant mutants of M. tuberculosis H37Rv were isolated. Streptomycin inhibited the incorporation of 14C-amino acids into proteins by whole cells of a streptomycin-susceptible strain by more than 90%, whereas very little or no inhibition was observed in either high-level or low-level streptomycin-resistant strains.

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