Fowler, Audree V. (University of California, Los Angeles), and Irving Zabin. Effects of dimethylsulfoxide on the lactose operon in Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriol. 92:353–357. 1966.—Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) at a concentration of 5% (v/v) in the culture medium inhibits the growth of Escherichia coli to only a slight extent, and does not affect the differential rate of synthesis of β-galactosidase. Resting cells remain viable after shaking in the presence of 20% DMSO for 3 hr at 37 C. Both β-galactosidase and thiogalactoside transacetylase retain almost all activity after incubation in even higher concentrations of the solvent for many hours. DMSO decreases the permeability barrier. The rate of hydrolysis of o-nitrophenyl-β-d-galactoside (ONPG) in whole cells containing β-galactosidase but lacking permease is increased in cells treated with 5% DMSO. Several permeaseless strains preinduced for β-galactosidase will grow on lactose in the presence, but not in the absence, of 5% DMSO. When permeaseless strains are grown on tetrazolium-lactose-agar, the presence of 5% DMSO causes a definite but not marked shift toward the lactose-positive character.