The exposure of Micrococcus radiodurans to sublethal doses of ionizing radiation causes the release of certain proteins into the surrounding medium. As estimated by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, these proteins range from approximately 20,000 to 125,000 daltons. At least some of the proteins, including an exonuclease, have a surface location and appear to originate from the lipid-rich midwall layer. The exonuclease has two functionally distinct locations, one with its active site available to external substrate and a second with the active site masked from the exterior. Ionizing radiation releases both the masked and unmasked activity into the surrounding medium.

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