Effects of four mucopolysaccharides and dextran sulphate on penicillin-induced lysis of FDA 209P were studied. Heparin and dextran sulphate inhibited lysis, whereas hyaluronic acid enhanced it. Chondroitin sulphates A and C had no effect. Incubation of suspended in 0.03 M phosphate buffer (pH 7.0) with dextran sulphate inhibited autolysis of the bacteria, whereas incubation with hyaluronic acid enhanced autolysis. Both extracellular and cell-associated autolysin activities of were suppressed by dextran sulphate and high concentrations of heparin. The addition of hyaluronic acid enhanced autolysin activity. The release of lipoteichoic acid (LTA), a modulator of autolysin activity, from penicillin-treated bacteria was inhibited by heparin and dextran sulphate. However, hyaluronic acid had no effect on release of LTA.

These results suggest that inhibition of penicillin-induced lysis of by heparin results mainly from inhibition of LTA release while dextran sulphate inhibits both autolysin activity and LTA release. Hyaluronic acid appears to enhance penicillin-induced lysis through activation of the autolysins.


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