Inhibition of DNA replication in Escherichia coli by dibromophenol and other uncouplers

P. H. Weigel, P. T. Englunds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


DNA replication in E. coli is inhibited by uncouplers such as 2,4 dibromophenol and 3,3',4',5 tetrachlorosalicylanilide. Inhibition occurs in either aerobically or anaerobically growing cells or in cells made permeable by toluene. With anaerobically growing cells, inhibition by dibromophenol is reversible and occurs under conditions in which there is no change in pools of ATP or deoxynucleoside triphosphates. With toluenized cells, inhibition is not due to breakdown of deoxynucleoside triphosphates. The rates of protein and RNA synthesis are not inhibited either in vivo or in toluenized cells by concentrations of dibromophenol or tetrachlorosalycylanilide which inhibit replication. It is generally believed that uncouplers inhibit many other cellular processes by collapsing a proton gradient across a membrane. However, the relative effectiveness of eight uncouplers and related compounds to inhibit replication did not parallel their ability to transport protons into E. coli cells. Therefore, the inhibition by uncouplers does not suggest that replication depends on a chemiosmotic process. A possible explanation for the uncoupler sensitivity is provided by the finding that many of the purified enzymes tested, including DNA polymerases II and III, are inhibited by dibromophenol and tetrachlorosalicylanilide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1148-1155
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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