Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Bacteriol. 2001 Aug;183(16):4886-93.

Genetic requirements for induction of germination of spores of Bacillus subtilis by Ca(2+)-dipicolinate.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06032, USA.


Dormant Bacillus subtilis spores can be induced to germinate by nutrients, as well as by nonmetabolizable chemicals, such as a 1:1 chelate of Ca(2+) and dipicolinic acid (DPA). Nutrients bind receptors in the spore, and this binding triggers events in the spore core, including DPA excretion and rehydration, and also activates hydrolysis of the surrounding cortex through mechanisms that are largely unknown. As Ca(2+)-DPA does not require receptors to induce spore germination, we asked if this process utilizes other proteins, such as the putative cortex-lytic enzymes SleB and CwlJ, that are involved in nutrient-induced germination. We found that Ca(2+)-DPA triggers germination by first activating CwlJ-dependent cortex hydrolysis; this mechanism is different from nutrient-induced germination where cortex hydrolysis is not required for the early germination events in the spore core. Nevertheless, since nutrients can induce release of the spore's DPA before cortex hydrolysis, we examined if the DPA excreted from the core acts as a signal to activate CwlJ in the cortex. Indeed, endogenous DPA is required for nutrient-induced CwlJ activation and this requirement was partially remedied by exogenous Ca(2+)-DPA. Our findings thus define a mechanism for Ca(2+)-DPA-induced germination and also provide the first definitive evidence for a signaling pathway that activates cortex hydrolysis in response to nutrients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk