Summary: requires 0·15 m-Ca in the medium for optimal growth. Increasing the Ca concentration to 1 m triggers either a differentiative state, competence for genetic transformation during exponential growth, or partial lysis as soon as the cultures enter stationary phase. Genetic and physiological data both suggest that these responses are under the control of activator(s), excreted in the presence of high Ca concentrations. Ca transport is also stimulated by the activator(s). The amiloride derivative 2”,4′-dimethylbenzamil (DMB) inhibits Ca transport and prevents lysis and competence development. This provides evidence in favour of the involvement of Ca transport in competence and culture lysis. On the other hand, addition of DNA to a competent culture prevents lysis of wild-type bacteria while a mutant, defective for DNA uptake, is not protected from lysis by exogenous DNA. An hypothesis is proposed for competence induction as a global metabolic response to Ca, under the control of competence factor.


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