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J Bacteriol. 1975 Jan;121(1):344-53.

Protoplast formation and leakage of intramembrane cell components: induction by the competence activator substance of pneumococci.


Treatment of pneumococci with activator (a protein that induces bacterial "competence" to absorb deoxyribonucleic acid molecules and undergo genetic transformation) can cause either protoplast formation or leakage of intracellular components to the medium depending on postincubation conditions. The leaked intracellular components include nucleoside phosphates, beta-galactosidase, deoxyribonuclease, autolysin, and hemolysin. Leakage and protoplast formation are induced by the electrophoretically pure activator, and these phenomena require the same conditions as induction of competence for genetic transformation, namely, genetic capacity for competence, protein synthesis, incorporation of choline, and the optimal pH for activation. It is suggested that the activator protein accelerates a normal process of transport (leakage) of autolysin molecules into the periplasmic space. The activity of these autolysin molecules from within would then unmask deoxyribonucleic acid binding sites located on the plasma membrane.

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