Transformation of a Bacillus subtilis L-form with bacteriophage deoxyribonucleic acid.


A stable L-form, sal-1, of Bacillus subtilis was transformed with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from bacteriophages phi 25 and phi 29 to determine whether exogenous DNA can be introduced into this organism. The viral transformation (transfection) was successful with the use of polyethylene glycol. In the presence of the fusogen, bacteriophage phi 25 DNA initiated a single cycle of infection. When compared with transfection of competent cells of Bacillus subtilis, the appearance of viral particles was delayed and their production occurred over a longer time period. L-form cells were best able to support intracellular replication of phi 25 viral particles when in balanced growth in a rich medium. The addition of polyethylene glycol also induced infection of sal-1 with whole bacteriophage phi 25 particles which could not otherwise infect the L-form and enhanced infection by intact phi 29 particles. Primary recombination was shown to be required for polyethylene glycol-mediated phi 25 transfection, but not phi 29 transfection or for whole bacteriophage phi 25 infection mediated by polyethylene glycol. Successful transfection of sal-1 suggests that the L-form may be amenable to genetic modification with exogenous DNA.

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