PMID: 674Oct 1, 1975

Mechanism of action of penicillin: triggering of the pneumococcal autolytic enzyme by inhibitors of cell wall synthesis

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
A Tomasz, S Waks

Abstract

During penicillin treatment of an autolysin defective mutant pneumococcus we have observed three novel phenomena: (i) Growth of the mutant cultures is inhibited by the same concentrations of penicillin that induce lysis in the wild type. (ii) Mutant bacteria treated with the minimum growth inhibitory concentration of penicillin will lyse upon the addition of wild-type autolysin to the growth medium. Chloramphenicol and other inhibitors of protein synthesis protect the cells against lysis by exogenous enzyme. Sensitivity of the cells to exogenous autolysin requires treatment with penicillin or other inhibitors of cell wall synthesis (e.g., D-cycloserine or fosfonomycin) since exogenous autolysin alone has no effect on bacterial growth. (iii) Treatment with penicillin (or other inhibitors of cell wall synthesis) causes the escape into the medium of a choline-containing macromolecule that has properties suggesting that it contains pneumococcal lipoteichoic acid (Forssman antigen). Each one of these three phenomena (growth inhibition, sensitization to exogenous autolysin, and leakage of lipoteichoic acid) shows the same dose response as that of the penicillin-induced lysis of wild-type pneumococci. On the basis of these findings we...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Autolysis
Cell Wall
Syntomycin
Deoxycholic Acid, Sodium Salt, 12beta-Isomer
Enzyme Activation
Penicillin
Streptococcus pneumoniae
Teichoic Acids

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