Transfer of an Hly plasmid determining production of α haemolysin to a non-haemolytic strain of increased the virulence of the strain for mice. Injections of non-toxic amounts of α haemolysin, phenylhydrazine, haemoglobin, iron or manganese salts simulated the effect of the Hly plasmid by stimulating bacterial growth. Active or passive immunisation against α haemolysin protected mice on challenge with haemolytic by inhibiting in-vivo proliferation of the strain. Protection was eliminated by administration of iron salts at the time of challenge. The Hly plasmid probably acts as a virulence factor by enabling haemolytic strains of to obtain iron for growth from the lysed erythrocytes of infected animals.


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