A genetic locus has been identified which controls the basal synthesis of ppGpp in growing E. coli. Cells carrying a recessive allele of the relX gene have a very low concentration of ppGpp during balanced growth, and fail to accumulate ppGpp in response to carbon/energy source downshift. Moreover, the recessive relX allele renders the cells unable to grow at 42 degrees C and, when coupled with relA, makes the cells sensitive to the presence of leucine in minimal medium. RelX is cotransduced with fuc and relA and located at approximately 59.4 min on the E. coli genetic map.
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