The intracellular ATP content of ATCC 27092 grown in a glucose-containing medium was almost constant (2 to 3 µg/mg dry wt. cells) through the early to middle stage of logarithmic phase, but it was lowered to less than 0.1 µg/mg after cessation of growth owing to the exhaustion of available glucose. All the cells in the early stage of stationary phase were still viable and thus considered to be in a starved state. When such starved cells were infected with PL-1 phages in a tris-maleate buffer of pH 6.0, the process of forming blender-resistant phage-cell complexes signifying the complete infection of phage genomes into the cells was much inhibited. There was a good correlation between the ATP content of cells and the extent of the formation of blender-resistant phage-cell complexes and the correlation coefficient between them was 0.89 ± 0.09 at the 95% confidence limit. On the other hand, the process of forming both the phage-adsorbed cells and the anti-phage serum-resistant phage-cell complexes were not affected by the ATP content of cells. Feeding of glucose to such starved cell cultures caused the cells to restore both the ATP content and the ability to form blender-resistant phage-cell complexes. Such restoration was also observed when the starved cells collected by centrifugation were incubated in a glucose-containing medium.

The significance of the intracellular level of high energy compounds such as ATP for the mechanism of the injection of phage genomes into the cells is discussed.


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