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J Bacteriol. 2012 Jul;194(13):3417-25. doi: 10.1128/JB.00504-12. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

Effects of the SpoVT regulatory protein on the germination and germination protein levels of spores of Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Molecular, Microbial and Structural Biology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, USA.


Bacillus subtilis isolates lacking the SpoVT protein, which regulates gene expression in developing forespores, gave spores that released their dipicolinic acid (DPA) via germinant receptor (GR)-dependent germination more rapidly than wild-type spores. Non-GR-dependent germination via dodecylamine was more rapid with spoVT spores, but germination via Ca-DPA was slower. The effects of a spoVT mutation on spore germination were seen with spores made in rich and poor media, and levels of SpoVT-LacZ were elevated 2-fold in poor-medium spores; however, elevated SpoVT levels were not the only cause of the slower GR-dependent germination of poor-medium spores. The spoVT spores had ≥5-fold higher GerA GR levels, ∼2-fold elevated GerB GR levels, wild-type levels of a GerK GR subunit and the GerD protein required for normal GR-dependent germination, ∼2.5-fold lower levels of the SpoVAD protein involved in DPA release in spore germination, and 30% lower levels of DNA protective α/β-type small, acid-soluble spore proteins. With one exception, the effects on protein levels in spoVT spores are consistent with the effects of SpoVT on forespore transcription. The spoVT spores were also more sensitive to UV radiation and outgrew slowly. While spoVT spores' elevated GR levels were consistent with their more rapid GR-dependent germination, detailed analysis of the results suggested that there is another gene product crucial for GR-dependent spore germination that is upregulated in the absence of SpoVT. Overall, these results indicate that SpoVT levels during spore formation have a major impact on the germination and the resistance of the resultant spores.

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