Pigmentation and Sporulation Are Alternative Cell Fates in Bacillus pumilus SF214

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Bacillus pumilus SF214 is a spore forming bacterium, isolated from a marine sample, able to produce a matrix and a orange-red, water soluble pigment. Pigmentation is strictly regulated and high pigment production was observed during the late stationary growth phase in a minimal medium and at growth temperatures lower than the optimum. Only a subpopulation of stationary phase cells produced the pigment, indicating that the stationary culture contains a heterogeneous cell population and that pigment synthesis is a bimodal phenomenon. The fraction of cells producing the pigment varied in the different growth conditions and occurred only in cells not devoted to sporulation. Only some of the pigmented cells were also able to produce a matrix. Pigment and matrix production in SF214 appear then as two developmental fates both alternative to sporulation. Since the pigment had an essential role in the cell resistance to oxidative stress conditions, we propose that within the heterogeneous population different survival strategies can be followed by the different cells.




Manzo, N., Di Luccia, B., Isticato, R., D’Apuzzo, E., de Felice, M., & Ricca, E. (2013). Pigmentation and Sporulation Are Alternative Cell Fates in Bacillus pumilus SF214. PLoS ONE, 8(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062093

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