The relationship between the rate of lysis of infected with bacteriophage ϕX174 and the physiological state of the host bacteria was determined. The lysis rate was comparable to the growth rate only in cells grown in rich media, whereas in minimal medium it was much slower than the growth rate. Lysis of starved cells grown in minimal medium could not be induced by ϕ X174 although progeny phages were produced. Lysis of provoked by expression of the cloned ϕX174 lysis gene could be prevented by MgSO concentrations which also prevented lysis by induced autolysins whereas prevention of lysis of phage-infected needed much higher concentrations of MgSO. Prevention of lysis in the latter case did not reestablish viability of the infected cells whereas induction of the cloned ϕX174 lysis gene allowed continued multiplication in the presence of MgSO. Lysis of by expression of the cloned ϕX174 lysis gene was suppressed at pH 6.0 and could be turned on immediately upon upshift to pH 6.8. Phage-infected cells lysed at pH 6.0. At pH 8.0, lysis of by phage infection or by the cloned lysis gene product was suppressed. pH downshifts in both cases were not followed by lysis. The results suggest that the ϕX174 lysis gene product interacts in a reversible manner with the regulation of the autolytic system of .


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