Patterns of protein synthesis in E. coli: a catalog of the amount of 140 individual proteins at different growth rates

Cell. 1978 May;14(1):179-90. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(78)90312-4.


The amount of 140 individual proteins of E. coli B/r was measured during balanced growth in five different media. The abundance of each protein was determined from its absolute amount in 14C-glucose-minimal medium and a measurement of its relative amount at each growth rate using a double labeling technique. Separation of the proteins was carried out by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. This catalog of proteins, combined with 50 additional ribosomal proteins already studied, comprises about 5% of the coding capacity of the genome, but accounts for two thirds of the cell's protein mass. The behavior of most of these proteins could be described by a relatively small number of patterns. 102 of the 140 proteins exhibited nearly linear variations with growth rate. The remaining 38 proteins exhibited levels which seemed to depend more on the chemical nature of the medium than on growth rate. Proteins, including the ribosomal proteins, that increase in amount with increasing growth rate account for 20% of total cell protein by weight during growth on acetate, 32% on glucose-minimal medium and 55% on glucose-rich medium. Proteins with invariant levels in the various media comprise about 4% of the cell's total protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Culture Media
  • Electrophoresis
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Isoelectric Point
  • Molecular Weight
  • Ribosomal Proteins / biosynthesis*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Culture Media
  • Ribosomal Proteins