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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Sep;25(5):955-66.

Assembly and interactions of cotJ-encoded proteins, constituents of the inner layers of the Bacillus subtilis spore coat.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


During Bacillus subtilis endospore formation, a complex protein coat is assembled around the maturing spore. The coat is made up of more than two dozen proteins that form an outer layer, which provides chemical resistance, and an inner layer, which may play a role in the activation of germination. A third, amorphous layer of the coat occupies the space between the inner coat and the cortex, and is referred to as the undercoat. Although several coat proteins have been characterized, little is known about their interactions during assembly of the coat. We show here that at least two open reading frames of the cotJ operon (cotJA and cotJC) encode spore coat proteins. We suggest that CotJC is a component of the undercoat, since we found that its assembly onto the forespore is not prevented by mutations that block both inner and outer coat assembly, and because CotJC is more accessible to antibody staining in spores lacking both of these coat layers. Assembly of CotJC into the coat is dependent upon expression of cotJA. Conversely, CotJA is not detected in the coats of a cotJC insertional mutant. Co-immunoprecipitation was used to demonstrate the formation of complexes containing CotJA and CotJC 6 h after the onset of sporulation. Experiments with the yeast two-hybrid system indicate that CotJC may interact with itself and with CotJA. We suggest that interaction of CotJA with CotJC is required for the assembly of both CotJA and CotJC into the spore coat.

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