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Effects of Growth Inhibitors and Ultraviolet Irradiation on F Pili

  • Charles P. Novotny
  • Paula F. Taylor
  • Karen Lavin
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1972
  • Biology
  • Physics


The effects of chloramphenicol, nalidixic acid, mitomycin C, NaCN, and ultraviolet irradiation at 253.7 nm on F pili production by Escherichia coli cells was studied by electron microscopy. The results show that cells contain pools of pili protein, and that assembly does not require synthesis of protein or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). NaCN (2 × 10−2m) prevents the reappearance of pili and causes existing pili to disappear quickly from the cell surface. This suggests that energy is used in the assembly of pili and to retain pili on the cell. Cells irradiated with high doses (104ergs/mm2) of 253. 7 nm light produce fewer pili, and these are shorter than normal. Dose-response curves for number of pili per cell and length of pili resemble single hit kinetics, showing 37% survival at 104 ergs/mm2 and 2 × 104 ergs/mm2, respectively. This suggests that DNA is at the site where pili are produced, and that it may be involved in the assembly of pili.

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