SUMMARY: One-step growth experiments with bacteriophage ϕR showed that the yield of phage increased with increasing Mg concentration. The function of Mg was not primarily that of a lysis cofactor since the titre of intra-cellular phage was also dependent upon metal ion concentration. Phage development could be promoted by addition of Mg after the end of the normal latent period. This stimulatory action was not appreciably inhibited by chloramphenicol or respiratory poisons, though it was abolished at low temperature and gradually became less as the time between infection and Mg addition was increased. Qualitatively similar effects on phage growth were obtained with other divalent metal ions and with some polyamines. It is concluded that all these substances act at a late stage in the intracellular development of phage ϕR, possibly at some step involving the neutralization of nucleic acid. Whether or not Mg ions are also required for the release of phage particles cannot be determined from the present experiments, though some of the results suggest that they may be.


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