Mechanism of Action of Nalidixic Acid on Conjugating Bacteria1

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Mechanism of Action of Nalidixic Acid on Conjugating Bacteria1

Publication Date
Jun 01, 1970


When nalidixic acid, a specific and effective inhibitor of cellular deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis, is added to conjugating bacteria at any time during mating, it stops genetic transfer provided the donor bacterium is sensitive to the drug. When this inhibition is released by the removal of the nalidixic acid, transfer does not resume at the point on the chromosome where it was stopped, but begins again at the transfer origin. Curves relating the effects of various low doses of nalidixic acid to the frequency of recombination reveal that several “hits” are necessary to inhibit recombination for early markers. The number of required “hits” decreases as the distance of the marker from the transfer origin increases. Transfer between drug-resistant cells may also be inhibited by nalidixic acid. The effect of high drug doses on matings between resistant cells is similar to that of low drug doses on matings with a sensitive male.

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