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Cyclic AMP and the production of sex pili by E. coli K-12 carrying derepressed sex factors

Abstract

THE filamentous appendages, known as sex pili, determined by F-like and I-like sex factors in enterobacteria, have an essential function in conjugation1. But neither the exact nature of their function, nor their mode of formation is yet known. The number of sex pili ordinarily seen in cultures of Escherichia coli K-12 carrying derepressed F-like or I-like sex factors2 (where pilus production is not limited by specific repression) seldom exceeds an average of 1–2 per bacterium. With I-like pili, however, the numbers can be increased 50-fold or more by exposing the bacteria to either antiserum reacting with the pili3, or vigorous washing4.

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