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Separation of Erythromycin-Resistant and -Susceptible Subpopulations of Escherichia coli 15 by Partition in Two-Polymer Aqueous Phases

By Lawrence G. Wayne and Harry Walter


Partition of cells in two-polymer aqueous phases depends on subtle differences in the cells' surface properties (primarily surface charge). A culture of Escherichia coli 15 arg(−) was subjected to countercurrent distribution in a dextranpolyethylene glycol aqueous phase system and found to consist of two well-differentiated subpopulations. Clones derived from these two subpopulations (designated clones 5 and 6) exhibited characteristic partitions and were stable on subculture. Clone 5 cells were found to be susceptible to erythromycin and clone 6 cells were resistant. When a culture of clone 5 was exposed to erythromycin, resistant mutants were selected with the same partition as clone 6. Countercurrent distribution in two-polymer aqueous phase systems is thus shown to be a sensitive method for detecting some heterogeneities of bacterial populations and resolving such mixtures. Possible clinical implications of changes in bacterial surface properties associated with acquired drug resistance are discussed

Topics: Articles
Year: 1974
DOI identifier: 10.1128/aac.5.3.203
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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