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Effect of Filtrates from Transformable and Nontransformable Streptococci on the Transformation of Streptococci

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  • Infection And Immunity


Perry, Dennis (Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Ill.), and Hutton D. Slade. Effects of filtrates from transformable and nontransformable streptococci on the transformation of streptococci. J. Bacteriol. 91:2216–2222. 1966.—The nature of the transformation competence factor from a group H streptococcus was investigated. The activity of competence factor reached a maximum at the time that optimal competence was attained, the maxima of both occurring in the early log phase of growth. The decrease in competence factor was much more gradual than the decrease in number of competent cells. No inhibitor, however, was detected as being responsible for the decrease in either competent cells or competence factor activity. Efforts to induce transformation in other serological groups of streptococci with the use of group H competence factor were unsuccessful. The development of competence in group H when grown in the presence of nontransformable group A strains resulted in a significant increase in the number of transformants. Culture filtrates from early log phase group A cells also caused an increase in the number of transformants from the group H strain. The addition of 10−4m ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid to group A (or group H) culture filtrates caused significant increases in the number of transformants. These results thus indicate that group A streptococci, although nontransformable, produce low levels of “competence factor.” Late culture filtrates from the group H streptococcus and several strains of group A streptococci possessed deoxyribonuclease-like activity which inhibited the transformation of the group H strain. This activity in the A filtrates, however, was not prevented by group A anti-deoxyribonuclease sera. Instead, these sera also inhibited transformation. Evidence indicates that the lack of transformation of group A streptococci is due to factors other than the production of deoxyribonuclease.

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