Isolation of the Lethal Factor of Diphtheria Toxin by Electrophoresis in Starch Gel

Article metrics


HIGHLY purified toxins of Corynebacterium diphtheriae have been shown to be very complex mixtures by antigen–antibody diffusion in gelatin1. In spite of their apparent homogeneity as determined by filter paper electrophoresis, one of us demonstrated the complex nature of such toxins by electrophoresis and immunoelectrophoresis in starch gel2. All the crude, as well as the crystalline, toxins (a generous gift of Dr. C. G. Pope) screened by these methods (Poulik, in preparation), have invariably shown the presence of two major components in addition to many minor ones. Since diphtheria toxin is lethal in very high dilutions for guinea pigs, it was assumed that it is most probably one of the two major components which is the cause of death.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Pope, C. G., Stevens, M. F., Caspary, E. A., and Fenton, E. L., Brit. J. Exp. Path., 32, 246 (1951).

  2. 2

    Poulik, M. D., Nature, 177, 982 (1956).

  3. 3

    Scheibel, I. F., World Health Org. (Tech. Rep. Sec.), 61, 57 (1953).

  4. 4

    Pope, C. G., and Linggood, F. V., Brit. J. Exp. Path., 20, 297 (1939).

  5. 5

    Smithies, O., Biochem. J., 61, 629 (1955).

  6. 6

    Poulik, M. D., [Nature, 180, 1477 (1957)].

  7. 7

    Pope, C. G., Brit. J. Exp. Path., 38, 207 (1957).

  8. 8

    Niggemeyer, H., Ann. Paediat., 185, 1 (1955).

  9. 9

    O'Meara, J., J. Path. Bact., 51, 317 (1940).

  10. 10

    Yoneda, M., and Pappenheimer, jun., A. M., J. Bacteriol., 74, 256 (1957).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

POULIK, M., POULIK, E. Isolation of the Lethal Factor of Diphtheria Toxin by Electrophoresis in Starch Gel. Nature 181, 354–355 (1958) doi:10.1038/181354a0

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.