SUMMARY: 39-5 is a haemolytic, bacteriocinogenic strain harbouring six plasmids. One of these plasmids, pPD1 (36.4 MDa1) determines a bacteriocin and encodes a conjugative response to the sex pheromone cPD1 excreted by recipient (plasmid-free) strains. The pheromone response is characterized by the formation of mating aggregates of donors (responders) with recipients. Aggregation required the presence of phosphate and divalent cations and was inhibited by agents or conditions that destroy protein structure. Aggregation was postulated to be due to synthesis of a new proteinaceous molecule on the donor cell surface. Referred to as ‘aggregation substance’, such a material was identified and found to exhibit antigenic properties not associated with uninduced cells; it could be detected by immunoelec-tron microscopy. Aggregation substance could be extracted from induced cells but not uninduced cells as demonstrated by crossed immunoelectrophoresis. Antibody raised against the aggregation substance controlled by pPD1 cross-reacted with aggregation substance determined by other plasmid systems which respond to pheromones unrelated to cPD1.


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