SUMMARY: A method is described for the preparation, on a laboratory scale, of staphylococcal alpha toxin having a purity of about 70% and in a yield of 40%. The method entails ammonium sulphate fractionation followed by curtain electrophoresis. The toxin so obtained contains two impurities, one of which can be removed electrophoretically, and the other ultracentrifugally. The toxin itself is a protein of molecular weight 44,000. It contains most of the usual amino acids which vary in amount from 4 residues for histidine to 44 for aspartic acid. Although electrophoretically heterogeneous its electrophoretic components produce the biological effects heterogeneous associated with alpha toxin. As by-products of purification, two other proteins were isolated in crystalline form. Their significance for pathogenicity, if any, remains to be determined.


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