The aim of this study was to ascertain whether or not the absence of cell wall growth zones, deduced from the analysis of autoradiographs of DL-[3H]mesodiaminopimelic acid pulse-labeled cells of a Dap- Lys- mutant of Bacillus megaterium, was due to a high peptidoglycan turnover. Turnover was determined in very precise experimental conditions because two kinds of turnover occurred: a low, acid-soluble turnover and a high, acid-insoluble one. The latter was detected during a chase in the culture medium when bacteria were centrifuged before treatment with trichloroacetic acid. Otherwise the acid-insoluble released material precipitated with the bacteria. In the electron microscope this material presented a globular structure and contained both peptidoglycan and teichoic acid. The acid-insoluble turnover was mainly produced by a lytic acitivity that was released into the culture medium. This thermolabile activity was not due to cell lysis. It was implicated in septum cleavage and in the detachment of wall fragments from the cell surface, but did not seem indispensable for cell elongation. The acid-soluble turnover was much weaker and seemed to be indispensable for cell elongation
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