SUMMARY: Washed lysed during storage at 2° or on incubation at 37° in various buffered salt solutions. The lysis was accompanied by a marked increase in adenosine triphosphatase activity (ATPase), due to an enzyme bound to the cytoplasmic membrane. The lysis in buffered salt solutions was most rapid in young vegetative organisms and negligible in organisms from cultures incubated for 30 hr. No lysis occurred when organisms were incubated in buffered sucrose, but young organisms formed spheroplasts under these conditions. Both young and older organisms incubated in sucrose lysed when diluted in water. After lysis the residue of older organisms appeared structurally similar to cell-wall membranes prepared by crushing the organisms. Organisms incubated in EDTA or salt solutions containing sulphydryl compounds did not lyse during the incubation or on subsequent dilution with water. It is suggested that lysis was mainly due to changes in the composition or structure of the cell wall and not to alterations in the protoplasmic membrane.


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