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Bacterial Protoplasts from Bacillus Species by the Action of Autolytic Enzymes


WHEN certain bacteria are suspended in sucrose solution of suitable concentration and incubated with lysozyme, the rigid cell-walls are dissolved away, leaving relatively stable spherical protoplasts1. Lytic enzymes which dissolve the isolated cell-walls of vegetative Bacillus cereus have been found in extracts of mechanically disintegrated resting spores2 and partial autolysates of sporulating cells3 of this organism. When heat-treated, intact vegetative cells were treated with preparations of these enzymes, the walls were dissolved, leaving the coagulated cell-contents apparently unchanged. It has now been found that when viable organisms are suspended in sucrose solution and treated with these enzymes, relatively stable protoplasts are obtained in good yield.

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  1. Symp. Soc. Gen. Microbiol. “Bacterial Anatomy”, edit. E. T. C. Spooner and B. A. D. Stocker, p. 111, Weibull, C. (Camb. Univ. Press, 1956).

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  2. Strange, R. E., and Dark, F. A., J. Gen. Microbiol., 16, 236 (1957).

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  3. Strange, R. E., and Dark, F. A., J. Gen. Microbiol., 17 (in the press).

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DARK, F., STRANGE, R. Bacterial Protoplasts from Bacillus Species by the Action of Autolytic Enzymes. Nature 180, 759–760 (1957).

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