The binding of Mg2+ to the wall teichoic acid of Lactobacillus buchneri N.C.I.B. 8007 was measured by equilibrium dialysis at controlled ionic concentration and pH. In an aqueous solution containing 10mM-NaCl at pH 5.0 one Mg2+ ion was bound for every two phosphate groups of the teichoic acid, with an apparent association constant, Kassoc. = 2.7 × 103 M-1. On lowering the pH below the pKa of the phosphate groups the amount of bound Mg2+ decreased concomitantly with decreasing ionization of the phosphate groups. Both the amount of Mg2+ bound to the teichoic acid and the apparent association constants were similar in the presence of 10 mM concentrations of NaCl or KCl but decreased markedly in the presence of 10 mM-CaCl2 because of competition between Ca2+ and Mg2+ for the binding sites. A similar effect was found when the concentration of NaCl was increased from 0 to 50 mM. The results are discussed in relation to the function of teichoic acid in the walls of Gram-positive bacteria.

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