Influence of cultural conditions on mitomycin c-mediated bacteriophage induction and release of Salmonella toxin

J. W. Peterson, C. W. Houston, F. C.W. Koo

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20 Scopus citations


Several isolates of Salmonella were examined for the capacity to synthesize and release a cholera toxin-like toxin that exerted a biological effect on Chinese hamster ovary cells. Measurements of this Salmonella toxin, which was contained in cell sonic extracts and culture filtrates, were expressed in cholera toxin equivalents (nanograms), since the Chinese hamster ovary cell responses of the cholera toxin and the Salmonella toxin were indistinguishable. Comparative titrations of Salmonella preparations were also performed by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay specific for cholera toxin antigen. The amount of Salmonella toxin synthesized was low (nanogram levels), but the toxin was detectable in cell sonic extracts as early as 6 h after culture inoculation and reached maximal levels by 12 h. Salmonella toxin antigen was not detectable in control culture filtrates until 48 h, but the addition of mitomycin C at 8.5 h resulted in the sudden appearance of toxin antigen at 10 to 12 h, and the toxin antigen level reached a maximum at 14 h. A large peak of Chinese hamster ovary cell activity was observed at 48 h in the control culture, but significant Chinese hamster ovary cell-reactive material was observed as early as 10 h in cultures grown with mitomycin C. The mechanism of the mitomycin-mediated phenomenon that yielded more toxin in culture filtrates was associated with bacteriophage induction. A bacteriophage plaque assay with a susceptible Salmonella strain revealed that there were free bacteriophages in mitomycin-treated culture filtrates (but no control culture filtrates) at 12 h. Toxin production was greatest when cultures were grown at 30 to 37°C and lowest when cultures were grown at 25°C. The inoculum size and degree of culture aeration (agitation) had little effect on synthesis of the toxin, and toxin production occurred during anaerobic growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-242
Number of pages11
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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