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Autolysis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

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  • Research Article


Physiological conditions that would provide maximal rates of autolysis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae were examined. Autolysis was found to occur over a broad pH range with the optimum at pH 9.0 IN 0.05 M tris(hydroxymethyl)amino-methane-maleate buffer. The temperature optimum was found to be 40 C. Potassium ions greatly stimulated autolysis at a concentration of 0.01 M. Exposure of growing N. gonorrhoeae cells to penicillin, vancomycin, or D-cycloserine influenced the susceptibility to the autolysis, whereas chloramphenicol afforded some protection against autolysis. The primary structure of the peptidoglycan is composed of muramic acid/glutamic acid/alanine/diaminopimelic acid/glucosamine in approximate molar ratios of 1:1:2:1:1, respectively. Exogenous radioactive diaminopimelic acid, D-glucosamine, and D-alanine were incorporated into peptidoglycan. During autolysis these radioactive fragments were released from cells.

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