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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Feb;66(2):620-6.

Role of the spore coat layers in Bacillus subtilis spore resistance to hydrogen peroxide, artificial UV-C, UV-B, and solar UV radiation.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.


Spores of Bacillus subtilis possess a thick protein coat that consists of an electron-dense outer coat layer and a lamellalike inner coat layer. The spore coat has been shown to confer resistance to lysozyme and other sporicidal substances. In this study, spore coat-defective mutants of B. subtilis (containing the gerE36 and/or cotE::cat mutation) were used to study the relative contributions of spore coat layers to spore resistance to hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) and various artificial and solar UV treatments. Spores of strains carrying mutations in gerE and/or cotE were very sensitive to lysozyme and to 5% H(2)O(2), as were chemically decoated spores of the wild-type parental strain. Spores of all coat-defective strains were as resistant to 254-nm UV-C radiation as wild-type spores were. Spores possessing the gerE36 mutation were significantly more sensitive to artificial UV-B and solar UV radiation than wild-type spores were. In contrast, spores of strains possessing the cotE::cat mutation were significantly more resistant to all of the UV treatments used than wild-type spores were. Spores of strains carrying both the gerE36 and cotE::cat mutations behaved like gerE36 mutant spores. Our results indicate that the spore coat, particularly the inner coat layer, plays a role in spore resistance to environmentally relevant UV wavelengths.

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