Summary: Spheroplasts of strain P29 auxotrophs were prepared by combined treatment with glycine and lysozyme-EDTA. About 15% of spheroplasts had areas of cytoplasmic membrane exposed where cell wall was absent. The spheroplasts of different auxotrophs were mixed pairwise and fusion was attempted with polyethylene glycol or nascent calcium phosphate. After spheroplasts had regenerated to bacterial forms selection was made for recombinants. Recombinants arose at frequencies of 3.8 × 10 to 1.7 × 10 per spheroplast initially present, by both methods of fusion. The frequency was strongly dependent on the number of chromosomal loci used in selection. The possible order of five loci was determined and this corresponded to that on the closely related chromosome. Control experiments excluded possibilities of auxotrophic reversion conjugation, transformation, transfection or transduction as explanations of the results. Analysis of prototrophic clones yielded stable prototrophs or mixtures of stable prototrophs and stable recombinants. Parental types were not encountered. Unselected markers segregated among recombinants. It was concluded that the formation of recombinant bacteria was due to spheroplast fusion and that only stable products of the very temporary heteroploid state were haploid recombinants. The low frequency of recombination was ascribed to the limited number of spheroplasts with areas of exposed cytoplasmic membrane.


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