Effects of neomycin, spectinomycin, tetracycline and chloramphenicol on the stringent control RNA synthesis and on ppGpp synthesis in the rel+-cells of Escherichia coli having a temperature-sensitive valyl-tRNA synthetase were examined. Without antibiotics, ppGpp began to accumulate and both RNA and protein syntheses were inhibited by transferring the exponentially growing cells from 30 degrees C (permissive temp.) to 40 degrees C (non-permissive temp.). Tetracycline or chloramphenicol, when added after the temperature shift, caused a resumption of RNA synthesis and decay of the accumulated ppGpp, while neomycin or spectinomycin had little effect both on RNA synthesis and the level of ppGpp. When the cells were treated with these antibiotics at permissive temperature, the shift of the temperature to 40 degrees C caused neither inhibition of RNA synthesis nor an accumulation of ppGpp. When neomycin or spectinomycin was added at the beginning of the temperature shift, RNA synthesis continued with an accumulation of ppGpp. Tetracycline or chloramphenicol had no such effect under the same conditions; RNA synthesis continued without an accumulation of ppGpp.