SUMMARY: The effects of various factors on the release of penicillinase from apparently undamaged cells of a growing culture of were investigated. The enzyme was not eluted from the cells by treating them with high concentrations of salt. Its liberation did not take place at all at 0°, and was nearly completely inhibited at pH values below 6.0, whereas chloramphenicol, at concentrations sufficient to cause complete cessation of growth, caused only partial inhibition of enzyme release. The penicillinase-releasing action of extracts containing heat-labile ‘autolytic’ factors from older cells of the same organism could not be dissociated from their damaging effect on the cell, as indicated by concomitant release of the normally intracellular α-glucosidase. It is concluded that normal penicillinase liberation is controlled by enzymic reactions, as yet unidentified, involving detachment of the enzyme from structures superficially located in the cell envelope.


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