Protoplasts (autoplasts) of Streptococcus faecalis were produced by the action of native autolytic N-acetylmuramidase in the absence of added peptidoglycan hydrolases and were grown in osmotically stabilized medium containing L-[3H]lysine and D-[14C]alanine. To reduce the level of muralytic hydrolysis of glycan chains during growth, heat-inactivated cell walls were added to the medium to bind autolytic enzyme, and tetracycline (1 mug/ml) was added to inhibit further enzyme synthesis. Under these conditions, protoplasts synthesized newly labeled peptidoglycan in the form of soluble, infrequently peptide cross-linked glycan chains which were released into the supernatant medium. These relatively large glycan chains were not transferred to exogenously added cell walls
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