SUMMARY: Aqueous extracts of disintegrated spores of and non-virulent contained an enzyme which produced visible lysis of the isolated cell walls of vegetative . Optimum activity occurred at pH 7-8 in the presence of cobalt or manganese ions (10 p.p.m.) at 58°. Activity was destroyed during heating at 100° for 15 min. The lytic preparation released non-dialysable components containing αε-diaminopimelic acid (DAP), glutamic acid, alanine, amino sugars and glucose. Although lysis was less obvious, the enzyme preparation released similar material from cell walls of other species, spore coats of and coats of autoclaved spores. Extracts of freshly harvested spores were more active than those from spores which had been stored for several weeks at 2°. Extracts from disintegrated spores of had no enzymic activity; the enzyme system was associated with the insoluble spore coat fraction. The action of the enzyme differed from that of lysozyme or glucosaminidase; the reaction products did not give a significant reaction for -acetylhexosamine and visible lysis proceeded more rapidly with cell walls of than with . Possible functions of the enzyme may be to release ‘spore peptide’ from the spore coat during germination and to lyse the sporangium and free the spore during sporulation.


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