Phosphoproteome dynamics mediate revival of bacterial spores

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Background: Bacterial spores can remain dormant for decades, yet harbor the exceptional capacity to rapidly resume metabolic activity and recommence life. Although germinants and their corresponding receptors have been known for more than 30 years, the molecular events underlying this remarkable cellular transition from dormancy to full metabolic activity are only partially defined. Results: Here, we examined whether protein phospho-modifications occur during germination, the first step of exiting dormancy, thereby facilitating spore revival. Utilizing Bacillus subtilis as a model organism, we performed phosphoproteomic analysis to define the Ser/Thr/Tyr phosphoproteome of a reviving spore. The phosphoproteome was found to chiefly comprise newly identified phosphorylation sites located within proteins involved in basic biological functions, such as transcription, translation, carbon metabolism, and spore-specific determinants. Quantitative comparison of dormant and germinating spore phosphoproteomes revealed phosphorylation dynamics, indicating that phospho-modifications could modulate protein activity during this cellular transition. Furthermore, by mutating select phosphorylation sites located within proteins representative of key biological processes, we established a functional connection between phosphorylation and the progression of spore revival. Conclusions: Herein, we provide, for the first time, a phosphoproteomic view of a germinating bacterial spore. We further show that the spore phosphoproteome is dynamic and present evidence that phosphorylation events play an integral role in facilitating spore revival.




Rosenberg, A., Soufi, B., Ravikumar, V., Soares, N. C., Krug, K., Smith, Y., … Ben-Yehuda, S. (2015). Phosphoproteome dynamics mediate revival of bacterial spores. BMC Biology, 13(1).

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