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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002 Mar;59(3):434-44.

Assembly and genetics of spore protective structures.

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  • 1Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Setsunan University, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan.


The sporulation program in Bacillus subtilis ends in the formation of a highly resistant endospore that can withstand extremes of heat, mechanical disruption, ultraviolet irradiation, lytic enzymes and chemical attack. These properties are attributed mainly to the unique structure of spore coat and cortex, as well as to the physical state of the spore cytoplasm. The outermost layer of the spore, called the coat, has two morphologically distinct sublayers: an electron-dense outer coat and an electron-translucent inner coat. The coat is composed of more than 2 dozen proteins of varying size. Many coat genes and coat proteins have been isolated and characterized in detail, and studies of these have identified proteins with important roles in coat assembly, resistance and spore germination. We describe here characteristics of the coat proteins and propose a model for coat assembly based on recent work.

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