Letter | Published:

Bacterial Protoplasts from Bacillus Species by the Action of Autolytic Enzymes

Nature volume 180, pages 759760 (12 October 1957) | Download Citation



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. 1.

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

  2. 2.

    , and , J. Gen. Microbiol., 16, 236 (1957).

  3. 3.

    , and , J. Gen. Microbiol., 17 (in the press).

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  1. Ministry of Supply, Microbiological Research Establishment, Porton, Wilts.

    • F. A. DARK
    •  & R. E. STRANGE


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