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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Apr;62(4):1342-6.

The effect of growth and starvation on the lysis of the ruminal cellulolytic bacterium Fibrobacter succinogenes.

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Section of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Growing cultures of Fibrobacter succinogenes assimilated more ammonia than could be accounted for by cellular protein, RNA, or DNA and released large amounts of nonammonia nitrogen. The difference between net and true growth was most dramatic at low dilution rates, but mathematical derivations indicated that the lysis rate was a growth rate-independent function. The lysis rate was sevenfold greater than the true maintenance rate (0.07 h-1 versus 0.01 h-1). Because slowly growing cells had as much proton motive force and ATP as fast-growing cells, lysis was not a starvation response per se. Stationary-phase cells had a lysis rate that was 10-fold less than that of growing cells. Rapidly growing cells were not susceptible to phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride, but phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride increased the lysis rate of the cultures when they reached the stationary phase. This latter result indicated that autolysins of stationary-phase cells were being inactivated by a serine proteinase. When growing cells were treated with the glycolytic inhibitor iodoacetate, the proteinase-dependent transition to the stationary phase was circumvented, and the rate of lysis could be increased by as much as 50-fold.

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