SUMMARY: Partial inhibition of lipid synthesis in by the inclusion of cerulenin in growth media led to the formation of chains of spheroidal cells both of wild-type strains and mutants. Washed cell suspensions prepared from wild-type cultures treated with cerulenin lysed only very owly compared with those from control cultures although the activity of autolysins in 5 -LiCl extracts made from such organisms was only about 30% less than those in extracts from controls. The behaviour of the cultures, such as the separation of cells and the reaction to β-lactams, was as if they were grossly deficient in autolytic activity. The concentration of cerulenin used (7·5 μg ml) reduced the growth rate two- to threefold but exponential growth at this slower rate continued for at least 18 h. The steady state concentration of total protein and peptidoglycan per unit bacterial mass was the same as in control cultures but the phospholipid content was reduced by 50%.


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