Lysis of trypsinized Group A streptococcal cell walls with phage-associated lysin releases into solution dialyzable and non-dialyzable mucopeptide fractions composed of N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylmuramic acid and alanine, glutamic acid, lysine, and glycine in addition to the characteristic group-specific carbohydrate. The latter substance contains appreciable amounts of N-acetylmuramic acid and the amino acids as well as N-acetylglucosamine and rhamnose.
Hot formamide extraction of the cell walls results in a soluble fraction of group-specific carbohydrate and an insoluble residue. The Group A carbohydrate in this instance is composed of rhamnose and N-acetylglucosamine. The composition of the insoluble residue is similar to that of the mucopeptide fractions released from the cell wall by phage-associated lysin. This residue was shown by electron microscopy to be composed of discrete discs which appear similar in structure to the intact cell wall.
The specific carbohydrate obtained by hot formamide extraction of Group A-variant cell walls was composed almost exclusively of rhamnose. The residue fraction was similar to that of Group A.
The residue of cell walls extracted with hot formamide is extensively solubilized not only by phage-associated lysin and S. albus enzyme, but also by lysozyme, which has no measurable effect on the intact streptococcal cell wall.