1. A method for isolating a nucleoprotein from lysed staphylococci culture is described.
2. It is homogeneous in the ultracentrifuge and has a sedimentation constant of 650 x 10–13 cm. dyne–1 sec.–1, corresponding to a molecular weight of about 300,000,000.
3. The diffusion coefficient varies from about 0.001 cm.2/day in solutions containing more than 0.1 mg. protein/ml. to 0.02 in solutions containing less than 0.001 mg. protein/ml. The rate of sedimentation also decreases as the concentration decreases. It is suggested, therefore, that this protein exists in various sized molecules of from 500,000–300,000,000 molecular weight, the proportion of small molecules increasing as the concentration decreases.
4. This protein is very unstable and is denatured by acidity greater than pH 5.0, by temperature over 50°C. for 5 minutes. It is digested by chymo-trypsin but not by trypsin.
5. The loss in activity by heat, acid, and chymo-trypsin digestion is roughly proportional to the amount of denatured protein formed under these conditions.
6. The rate of diffusion of the protein is the same as that of the active agent.
7. The rate of sedimentation of the protein is the same as that of the active agent.
8. The loss in activity when susceptible living or dead bacteria are added to a solution of the protein is proportional to the loss in protein from the solution. Non-susceptible bacteria remove neither protein nor activity.
9. The relative ultraviolet light absorption, as determined directly, agrees with that calculated from Gates' inactivation experiments in the range of 2500–3000 Å. u. but is somewhat greater in the range of 2000–2500 Å. u.
10. Solubility determinations showed that most of the preparations contained at least two proteins, one being probably the denatured form of the other. Two preparations were obtained, however, which had about twice the specific activity of the earlier ones and which gave a solubility curve approximating that of a pure substance.
11. It is suggested that the formation of phage may be more simply explained by analogy with the autocatalytic formation of pepsin and trypsin than by analogy with the far more complicated system of living organisms.