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J Bacteriol. 2007 Mar;189(6):2369-75. Epub 2007 Jan 12.

A novel lipolytic enzyme, YcsK (LipC), located in the spore coat of Bacillus subtilis, is involved in spore germination.

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  • 1Department of Applied Molecular Biosciences, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Japan.


The predicted amino acid sequence of Bacillus subtilis ycsK exhibits similarity to the GDSL family of lipolytic enzymes. Northern blot analysis showed that ycsK mRNA was first detected from 4 h after the onset of sporulation and that transcription of ycsK was dependent on SigK and GerE. The fluorescence of the YcsK-green fluorescent protein fusion protein produced in sporulating cells was detectable in the mother cell but not in the forespore compartment under fluorescence microscopy, and the fusion protein was localized around the developing spores dependent on CotE, SafA, and SpoVID. Inactivation of the ycsK gene by insertion of an erythromycin resistance gene did not affect vegetative growth or spore resistance to heat, lysozyme, or chloroform. The germination of ycsK spores in a mixture of L-asparagine, D-glucose, D-fructose, and potassium chloride and LB medium was also the same as that of wild-type spores, but the mutant spores were defective in L-alanine-stimulated germination. In addition, zymogram analysis demonstrated that the YcsK protein heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli showed lipolytic activity. We therefore propose that ycsK should be renamed lipC. This is the first study of a bacterial spore germination-related lipase.

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