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J Bacteriol. 1974 Oct;120(1):59-65.

Ultraviolet sensitivity of Bacillus subtilis spores upon germination and outgrowth.


A strain of Bacillus subtilis, UVSSP-42-1, which produces ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive spores and vegetative cells, was found to possess germinated spores 25 times more UV resistant than the resting spores. This relative resistance achieved upon germination was associated with the transition of the heat-resistant refractile spores to the heat-sensitive phase-dark forms. Several generations of outgrowth were required before the cells attained the level of UV sensitivity characteristic of the vegetative cell. The UV sensitivity of germinated spores was compared with other strains with various combinations of mutations affecting deoxyribonucleic acid repair capabilities. The presence of hcr and ssp mutations which are known to abolish the removal of photoproducts from deoxyribonucleic acid did not alter significantly the sensitivity of the germinated forms. However, the addition of the recA mutation and, to some extent, the pol mutation increased the UV sensitivity of the germinated spores. These results indicate that deoxyribonucleic acid repair mechanisms dependent on the recA gene are active in the germinated spores. The chemical nature of the damage repaired by the recA gene product is not known. This study indicates that the life cycle of sporulating bacilli consists of at least three photobiologically distinct forms: spore, germinated spore, and vegetative cell.

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