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J Bacteriol. 1978 Jul;135(1):153-60.

Cellular lysis of Streptococcus faecalis induced with triton X-100.


Lysis of exponential-phase cultures of Streptococcus faecalis ATCC 9790 was induced by exposure to both anionic (sodium dodecyl sulfate) and nonionic (Triton X-100) surfactants. Lysis in response to sodium dodecyl sulfate was effective only over a limited range of concentrations, whereas Triton X-100-induced lysis occurred over a broad range of surfactant concentrations. The data presented indicate that the bacteriolytic response of growing cells to Triton X-100: (i) was related to the ratio of surfactant to cells and not the surfactant concentration per se; (ii) required the expression of the cellular autolytic enzyme system; and (iii) was most likely due to an effect of the surfactant on components of the autolytic system that are associated with the cytoplasmic membrane. The possibility that Triton X-100 may induce cellular lysis by releasing a lipid inhibitor of the cellular autolytic enzyme is discussed.

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