SUMMARY: Study of the kinetics of the effect of KCl and NaCl on the genetic transformation process has shown that an activation of a 3 min.-old DNA-bacterial complex by 0·2-salt is responsible for a several-fold increase in the frequency of transformation. It is assumed that this is due to activation of a temperature-dependent metabolic process which is connected with the penetration of DNA into the competent cells. Studies of the kinetics of DNA penetration, by the addition of deoxyribonuclease as a function of time, in the presence and absence of the activating salts, indicate that competence is also a state of increased permeability to macromolecules. The activating effect of both sodium and potassium chlorides bears some relation to the stage of competence achieved and to the dilution or non-dilution of the receptor culture.


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