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J Bacteriol. Aug 1992; 174(15): 4952–4959.
PMCID: PMC206308

Isolation and characterization of a Tn551-autolysis mutant of Staphylococcus aureus.


A Lyt- mutant with reduced autolytic activity was isolated after Tn551 mutagenesis of the methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus laboratory strain RN450. The Lyt- phenotype could be transferred back into the parent and into a variety of other S. aureus strains by transduction of the transposon marker. Southern analysis has located the Tn551 insert to a 3.2-kb HindIII DNA fragment on the SmaI B fragment of the staphylococcal chromosome. The Lyt- phenotype included reduced rates of cell wall turnover and autolysis induced by detergent or methicillin treatment; however, the rate of methicillin-induced killing was not affected. Peptidoglycans prepared from the parental and mutant cells showed identical muropeptide compositions, as resolved by a high-resolution high-pressure liquid chromatography technique. On the other hand, LiCl extracts of the mutant cells contained reduced amounts of total protein and lower specific cell wall-degrading activity compared with those of extracts of parental cells. The profile of bacteriolytic enzymes as detected by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed multiple band differences between mutant and parental cells; a major lytic band with properties characteristic of the staphylococcal endo-beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase was completely absent from the Lyt- cells. The Lyt- phenotype transduced into a series of methicillin-resistant strains of both homogeneous and heterogeneous phenotypes caused only a modest decrease in the level of methicillin resistance, as determined by population analysis.

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