Accumulation of trehalose by Escherichia coli K-12 at high osmotic pressure depends on the presence of amber suppressors.J Bacteriol 1988; 170(8):3601-10JB
When grown at high osmotic pressure, some strains of Escherichia coli K-12 synthesized substantial levels of free sugar and accumulated proline if it was present in the growth medium. The sugar was identified as trehalose by chemical reactivity, gas-liquid chromatography, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Strains of E. coli K-12 could be divided into two major classes with respect to osmoregulation. Those of class A showed a large increase in trehalose levels with increasing medium osmolarity and also accumulated proline from the medium, whereas those in class B showed no accumulation of trehalose or proline. Most class A strains carried suppressor mutations which arose during their derivation from the wild type, whereas the osmodefective strains of class B were suppressor free. When amber suppressor mutations at the supD, supE, or supF loci were introduced into such sup0 osmodefective strains, they became osmotolerant and gained the ability to accumulate trehalose in response to elevated medium osmolarity. It appears that the original K-12 strain of E. coli carries an amber mutation in a gene affecting osmoregulation. Mutants lacking ADP-glucose synthetase (glgC) accumulated trehalose normally, whereas mutants lacking UDP-glucose synthetase (galU) did not make trehalose and grew poorly in medium of high osmolarity. Trehalose synthesis was repressed by exogenous glycine betaine but not by proline.