Proteins involved in formation of the outermost layer of Bacillus subtilis spores.
ABSTRACT: To investigate the outermost structure of the Bacillus subtilis spore, we analyzed the accessibility of antibodies to proteins on spores of B. subtilis. Anti-green fluorescent protein (GFP) antibodies efficiently accessed GFP fused to CgeA or CotZ, which were previously assigned to the outermost layer termed the spore crust. However, anti-GFP antibodies did not bind to spores of strains expressing GFP fused to 14 outer coat, inner coat, or cortex proteins. Anti-CgeA antibodies bound to spores of wild-type and CgeA-GFP strains but not cgeA mutant spores. These results suggest that the spore crust covers the spore coat and is the externally exposed, outermost layer of the B. subtilis spore. We found that CotZ was essential for the spore crust to surround the spore but not for spore coat formation, indicating that CotZ plays a critical role in spore crust formation. In addition, we found that CotY-GFP was exposed on the surface of the spore, suggesting that CotY is an additional component of the spore crust. Moreover, the localization of CotY-GFP around the spore depended on CotZ, and CotY and CotZ depended on each other for spore assembly. Furthermore, a disruption of cotW affected the assembly of CotV-GFP, and a disruption of cotX affected the assembly of both CotV-GFP and CgeA-GFP. These results suggest that cgeA and genes in the cotVWXYZ cluster are involved in spore crust formation.
Project description:The exosporium-defective phenotype of a transposon insertion mutant of Bacillus cereus implicated ExsY, a homologue of B. subtilis cysteine-rich spore coat proteins CotY and CotZ, in assembly of an intact exosporium. Single and double mutants of B. cereus lacking ExsY and its paralogue, CotY, were constructed. The exsY mutant spores are not surrounded by an intact exosporium, though they often carry attached exosporium fragments. In contrast, the cotY mutant spores have an intact exosporium, although its overall shape is altered. The single mutants show altered, but different, spore coat properties. The exsY mutant spore coat is permeable to lysozyme, whereas the cotY mutant spores are less resistant to several organic solvents than is the case for the wild type. The exsY cotY double-mutant spores lack exosporium and have very thin coats that are permeable to lysozyme and are sensitive to chloroform, toluene, and phenol. These spore coat as well as exosporium defects suggest that ExsY and CotY are important to correct formation of both the exosporium and the spore coat in B. cereus. Both ExsY and CotY proteins were detected in Western blots of purified wild-type exosporium, in complexes of high molecular weight, and as monomers. Both exsY and cotY genes are expressed at late stages of sporulation.
Project description:Surface properties, such as adhesion and hydrophobicity, constrain dispersal of bacterial spores in the environment. In Bacillus subtilis, these properties are influenced by the outermost layer of the spore, the crust. Previous work has shown that two clusters, cotVWXYZ and cgeAB, encode the protein components of the crust. Here, we characterize the respective roles of these genes in surface properties using Bacterial Adherence to Hydrocarbons assays, negative staining of polysaccharides by India ink and Transmission Electron Microscopy. We showed that inactivation of crust genes caused increases in spore relative hydrophobicity, disrupted the spore polysaccharide layer, and impaired crust structure and attachment to the rest of the coat. We also found that cotO, previously identified for its role in outer coat formation, is necessary for proper encasement of the spore by the crust. In parallel, we conducted fluorescence microscopy experiments to determine the full network of genetic dependencies for subcellular localization of crust proteins. We determined that CotZ is required for the localization of most crust proteins, while CgeA is at the bottom of the genetic interaction hierarchy.
Project description:The resistance properties of the bacterial spores are partially due to spore surface proteins, ?30% of which are said to form an insoluble protein fraction. Previous research has also identified a group of spore coat proteins affected by spore maturation, which exhibit an increased level of interprotein cross-linking. However, the proteins and the types of cross-links involved, previously proposed based on indirect evidence, have yet to be confirmed experimentally. To obtain more insight into the structural basis of the proteinaceous component of the spore coat, we attempted to identify coat cross-links and the proteins involved using new peptide fractionation and bioinformatic methods. Young (day 1) and matured (day 5) <i>Bacillus subtilis</i> spores of wild-type and transglutaminase mutant strains were digested with formic acid and trypsin, and cross-linked peptides were enriched using strong cation exchange chromatography. The enriched cross-linked peptide fractions were subjected to Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance tandem mass spectrometry, and the high-quality fragmentation data obtained were analyzed using two specialized software tools, pLink2 and XiSearch, to identify cross-links. This analysis identified specific disulfide bonds between coat proteins CotE-CotE and CotJA-CotJC, obtained evidence of disulfide bonds in the spore crust proteins CotX, CotY, and CotZ, and identified dityrosine and ?-(?)-glutamyl-lysine cross-linked coat proteins. The findings in this Letter are the first direct biochemical data on protein cross-linking in the spore coat and the first direct evidence of the cross-linked building blocks of the highly ordered and resistant structure called the spore coat.
Project description:The capability of endospores of Bacillus subtilis to withstand extreme environmental conditions is secured by several attributes. One of them, the protein shell that encases the spore and is known as the coat, provides the spore with its characteristic resistance to toxic chemicals, lytic enzymes, and predation by unicellular and multicellular eukaryotes. Despite most of the components of the spore coat having been identified, we have only a vague understanding of how such a complex structure is assembled. Using the yeast two-hybrid system, we attempted to identify direct contacts among the proteins allocated to the insoluble fraction of the spore coat: CotV, CotW, CotX, CotY, and CotZ. We also examined whether they could interact with CotE, one of the most crucial morphogenetic proteins governing outer coat formation and also present in the insoluble fraction. Out of all 21 possible interactions we tested, 4 were found to be positive. Among these interactions, we confirmed the previous observation that CotE forms homo-oligomers. In addition, we observed homotypic interactions of CotY, strong interactions between CotZ and CotY, and relatively weak, yet significant, interactions between CotV and CotW. The results of this yeast two-hybrid analysis were confirmed by size exclusion chromatography of recombinant coat proteins and a pull-down assay.
Project description:Bacillus subtilis spores are encased in a protein assembly called the spore coat that is made up of at least 70 different proteins. Conventional electron microscopy shows the coat to be organized into two distinct layers. Because the coat is about as wide as the theoretical limit of light microscopy, quantitatively measuring the localization of individual coat proteins within the coat is challenging. We used fusions of coat proteins to green fluorescent protein to map genetic dependencies for coat assembly and to define three independent subnetworks of coat proteins. To complement the genetic data, we measured coat protein localization at subpixel resolution and integrated these two data sets to produce a distance-weighted genetic interaction map. Using these data, we predict that the coat comprises at least four spatially distinct layers, including a previously uncharacterized glycoprotein outermost layer that we name the spore crust. We found that crust assembly depends on proteins we predicted to localize to the crust. The crust may be conserved in all Bacillus spores and may play critical functions in the environment.
Project description:Bacterial spores are encased in a multilayered proteinaceous shell known as the coat. In Bacillus subtilis, over 50 proteins are involved in spore coat assembly but the locations of these proteins in the spore coat are poorly understood. Here, we describe methods to estimate the positions of protein fusions to fluorescent proteins in the spore coat by using fluorescence microscopy. Our investigation suggested that CotD, CotF, CotT, GerQ, YaaH, YeeK, YmaG, YsnD, and YxeE are present in the inner coat and that CotA, CotB, CotC, and YtxO reside in the outer coat. In addition, CotZ and CgeA appeared in the outermost layer of the spore coat and were more abundant at the mother cell proximal pole of the forespore, whereas CotA and CotC were more abundant at the mother cell distal pole of the forespore. These polar localizations were observed both in sporangia prior to the release of the forespore from the mother cell and in mature spores after release. Moreover, CotB was observed at the middle of the spore as a ring- or spiral-like structure. Formation of this structure required cotG expression. Thus, we conclude not only that the spore coat is a multilayered assembly but also that it exhibits uneven spatial distribution of particular proteins.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Bacterial spores have been utilized as platforms for protein display. The best studied display systems are based on Bacillus subtilis spores in which several coat proteins have successfully been used as anchors for heterologous protein. Increasing knowledge about spore coat structure enables selection of new anchor proteins such as CotZ and CgeA. Here we describe a system of vectors for display of proteins on the surface of B. subtilis spores. RESULTS: We have designed and constructed a set of 16 vectors for ectopic integration which can be used for spore surface display of heterologous proteins. There is a selection of five coat proteins: CotB, CotC, CotG, CotZ and CgeA which can be used for construction of fusions. Three of these (CotB, CotC and CotG) enable obtaining N-terminal and C-terminal fusions and other two (CotZ and CgeA) are designed to produce C-terminal fusions only. All the vectors enable introduction of an additional peptide linker between anchor and displayed protein to enhance surface display. As a selection marker trophic genes are used. Additionally we describe an example application of presented vector system to display CagA protein of Helicobacter pylori in fusion with CgeA spore coat protein. CONCLUSIONS: Described system of vectors is a versatile tool for display of heterologous proteins on the surface of B. subtilis spores. Such recombinant spores can be further used as for example biocatalysts or antigen-carriers in vaccine formulations. The lack of antibiotic resistance genes in the system makes such spores an interesting option for applications in which a possible release to the environment can occur.
Project description:Bacterial spores (endospores), such as those of the pathogens Clostridium difficile and Bacillus anthracis, are uniquely stable cell forms, highly resistant to harsh environmental insults. Bacillus subtilis is the best studied spore-former and we have used it to address the question of how the spore coat is assembled from multiple components to form a robust, protective superstructure. B.?subtilis coat proteins (CotY, CotE, CotV and CotW) expressed in Escherichia coli can arrange intracellularly into highly stable macro-structures through processes of self-assembly. Using electron microscopy, we demonstrate the capacity of these proteins to generate ordered one-dimensional fibres, two-dimensional sheets and three-dimensional stacks. In one case (CotY), the high degree of order favours strong, cooperative intracellular disulfide cross-linking. Assemblies of this kind could form exquisitely adapted building blocks for higher-order assembly across all spore-formers. These physically robust arrayed units could also have novel applications in nano-biotechnology processes.
Project description:The crust is the outermost spore layer of most Bacillus strains devoid of an exosporium. This outermost layer, composed of both proteins and carbohydrates, plays a major role in the adhesion and spreading of spores into the environment. Recent studies have identified several crust proteins and have provided insights about their organization at the spore surface. However, although carbohydrates are known to participate in adhesion, little is known about their composition, structure, and localization. In this study, we showed that the spore surface of Bacillus subtilis is covered with legionaminic acid (Leg), a nine-carbon backbone nonulosonic acid known to decorate the flagellin of the human pathogens Helicobacter pylori and Campylobacter jejuni We demonstrated that the spsC, spsD, spsE, spsG, and spsM genes of Bacillus subtilis are required for Leg biosynthesis during sporulation, while the spsF gene is required for Leg transfer from the mother cell to the surface of the forespore. We also characterized the activity of SpsM and highlighted an original Leg biosynthesis pathway in B. subtilis Finally, we demonstrated that Leg is required for the assembly of the crust around the spores, and we showed that in the absence of Leg, spores were more adherent to stainless steel probably because of their reduced hydrophilicity and charge.IMPORTANCE Bacillus species are a major economic and food safety concern of the food industry because of their food spoilage-causing capability and persistence. Their persistence is mainly due to their ability to form highly resistant spores adhering to the surfaces of industrial equipment. Spores of the Bacillus subtilis group are surrounded by the crust, a superficial layer which plays a key role in their adhesion properties. However, knowledge of the composition and structure of this layer remains incomplete. Here, for the first time, we identified a nonulosonic acid (Leg) at the surfaces of bacterial spores (B. subtilis). We uncovered a novel Leg biosynthesis pathway, and we demonstrated that Leg is required for proper crust assembly. This work contributes to the description of the structure and composition of Bacillus spores which has been under way for decades, and it provides keys to understanding the importance of carbohydrates in Bacillus adhesion and persistence in the food industry.
Project description:Bacillus spores are highly resistant to many environmental stresses, owing in part to the presence of multiple "extracellular" layers. Although the role of some of these extracellular layers in resistance to particular stresses is known, the function of one of the outermost layers, the spore coat, is not completely understood. This study sought to determine whether the spore coat plays a role in resistance to predation by the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena, which uses phagocytosis to ingest and degrade other microorganisms. Wild-type dormant spores of Bacillus subtilis were efficiently ingested by the protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila but were neither digested nor killed. However, spores with various coat defects were killed and digested, leaving only an outer shell termed a rind, and supporting the growth of Tetrahymena. A similar rind was generated when coat-defective spores were treated with lysozyme alone. The sensitivity of spores with different coat defects to predation by T. thermophila paralleled the spores' sensitivities to lysozyme. Spore killing by T. thermophila was by means of lytic enzymes within the protozoal phagosome, not by initial spore germination followed by killing. These findings suggest that a major function of the coat of spores of Bacillus species is to protect spores against predation. We also found that indigestible rinds were generated even from spores in which cross-linking of coat proteins was greatly reduced, implying the existence of a coat structure that is highly resistant to degradative enzymes.