Extracts of five arginine-utilizing mycoplasmas inhibit PHA-induced lymphocyte mitosis, while extracts of five glucose-utilizing mycoplasmas do not. Evidence is presented supporting the view that the inhibitory factor is the enzyme arginine deiminase. This enzyme inhibits the reactions of human lymphocytes to antigens as well as PHA, and the secondary production of antibody by rabbit lymph node fragments in vitro. Addition of enzyme to the cells several days after the initial mitotic or antigenic stimulus reduces, but does not abolish, further cellular activity. The production of serum proteins by hepatoma cells is totally unaffected by the mycoplasmal extract. It is concluded that arginine is an essential amino acid for the small lymphocyte, but not for the transformed cell nor for a number of other cell types. Suggestive evidence has been obtained that other enzymes similarly affect lymphocyte reactions.

This content is only available as a PDF.