SUMMARY: Adsorption of bacteriophage SP50 to walls and heat-killed cells of 168 appeared to be irreversible at both 37 and 0 °C. Few, if any, active phage were desorbed when phage---wall complexes, formed at either temperature, were suspended in fresh medium. Bacteria rich in wall teichoic acid (TA) bound phage rapidly at both 0 and 37 °C, binding at the higher temperature being approximately twice as fast. Bacteria containing diminished proportions of TA showed less rapid phage adsorption but the reduction in rate was greater at 37 than at 0 °C and bacteria containing only small proportions of TA bound phage more rapidly at 0 °C than they did at 37 °C. These findings show that at low phage receptor density the temperature affects some component(s) involved in the phage—bacterium interaction such that the collision efficiency is increased at the lower temperature. The possible effect of temperature on the organization of bacterial surface components is discussed.


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