SUMMARY: A powerful lytic factor has been obtained in phage lysates of group C streptococci, which is active against streptococci of groups A, C and E and under some conditions group H. It is the factor responsible for ‘nascent’ phage lysis. The lytic activity remains unaltered by the removal of the phage by high-speed centri-fuging, and also in the presence of phage antiserum. It is active against young and old cell suspensions, live, or killed by chloroform. The activity diminishes in the absence of reducing agents and it is destroyed by protcolytic enzymes. Heat-killed cocci when attacked by the lytic factor become Gram-negative but do not lyse. The addition of a proteolytic enzyme completes lysis. Efforts to demonstrate the release of proteinases from streptococcal suspensions have failed. After lysis the group polysaccharide is free as a hapten and some cell-wall structure remains. M antigen is also present in group A lysates.


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