Seventy-eight mutants of strain NRRL 1951, that were impaired in penicillin production, were isolated following treatment with various mutagens. Twelve that yielded about 10% of their parental penicillin titre were studied in detail. Analyses of heterozygous diploids formed between them revealed the existence of at least five complementation groups with respect to penicillin production - V, W, X, Y and Z. Most mutants belonged to group Y. A biochemical investigation of the intracellular peptides in strains representing the five groups demonstrated the absence of the tripeptide a-aminoadipoyl-cysteinyl-valine from mutants of groups X, Y and Z. Extracts of mutants of groups W, Yand Z were able to catalyse a penicillin acyl-exchange reaction, a mutant of group V showed only a trace of activity and a mutant from group X completely lacked this ability.


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