Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

RU Laboratory

Tomasz Laboratory


The investigations described in this dissertation are presented in two parts. Part I deals with the mode of segregation of the pneumococcal wall teichoic acid during cell growth and division. Teichoic acid was labeled with 3H-choline (a teichoic acid-specific constituent of pneumococci) or an analogue, and its distribution among progeny cells over several generations was followed by autoradiography. The results confirm the zonal growth model for Gram-positive coccal cells. In Part II, the pneumococcal Forssman antigen is identified as a membrane lipoteichoic acid. The following lines of evidence suggest that the teichoic acid chains of the molecule may be identical to those found in the cell wall: (1) they are both composed of the same chemical constituents, including choline; (2) they are both cleaved by periodate and by nitrous acid into choline-containing fragments of similar size; (3) previous investigators demonstrated serological cross-reactivity between the two (Goebel, W. and Adams, M.R., 1943, J. Exp. Med. 77:435-449). Membrane localization of the F-antigen is suggested by the following observations: (1) the F-antigen is accessible from the surface of whole pneumococci; (2) it is not solubilized by muralytic enzymes; (3) it contains lipophilic regions, and is associated with a particulate cell fraction by hydrophobic interactions. The possibility that the lipoteichoic acid may be a precursor to the wall teichoic acid is ruled out by pulse-chase studies.


A Thesis submitted to the Faculty of The Rockefeller University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Included in

Life Sciences Commons