The host ranges of bacteriophages for group A, types 1, 6, 12, and 25 and group C streptococci have been determined. The findings indicate that the susceptibility to these phages is primarily a group-specific phenomenon, although it is modified by several factors such as the hyaluronic acid capsule, lysogeny, and possibly the presence of surface proteins. Phage antibody studies indicate that while the group A phages are antigenically related, they are distinct from the group C phage. This is in agreement with the observation that group A phages are not specific for their homologous streptococcal types.
The purified group C carbohydrate inactivates group C phage but not the group A phages, thus suggesting that the carbohydrate, a component of the cell wall, may serve as the phage receptor site. It has not been possible to inactivate the group A phages with group A carbohydrate.
Phage lysis of groups A and C streptococci is accompanied by fragmentation of the cell wall since the C carbohydrate has been identified serologically and chemically in the supernate of centrifuged lysates. The immediate lysis of groups A and C hemolytic streptococci and their isolated cell walls by an accesory heat-labile lytic factor in fresh group C lysates is also described.