Small amounts of purified staphylococcus α-toxin caused an immediate increase in the rate of succinate oxidation by Krebs 2 mouse ascites tumour cells. This effect appeared to be specific for α-toxin and not to be due to contamination of the α-toxin preparation with staphylococcus δ-toxin. During interaction with Krebs 2 cells, the haemolytic activity of α-toxin decreased by more than 95 per cent. Streptolysin-S preparations also caused increased oxidation of succinate, but only when washed cells were pretreated with toxin. These effects can be explained by postulating an action of the toxins on the cell membrane that leads to increased permeability to succinate. The different actions of staphylococcus α-toxin and streptolysin S are discussed.


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