Dynamic patterns of subcellular protein localization during spore coat morphogenesis in Bacillus subtilis

  • Van Ooij C
  • Eichenberger P
  • Losick R
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Endospores of Bacillus subtilis are encased in a thick, proteinaceous shell known as the coat, which is composed of a large number of different proteins. Here we report the identification of three previously uncharacterized coat-associated proteins, YabP, YheD, and YutH, and their patterns of subcellular localization during the process of sporulation, obtained by using fusions of the proteins to the green fluorescent protein (GFP). YabP-GFP was found to form both a shell and a ring around the center of the forespore across the short axis of the sporangium. YheD-GFP, in contrast, formed two rings around the forespore that were offset from its midpoint, before it eventually redistributed to form a shell around the developing spore. Finally, YutH-GFP initially localized to a focus at one end of the forespore, which then underwent transformation into a ring that was located adjacent to the forespore. Next, the ring became a cap at the mother cell pole of the forespore that eventually spread around the entire developing spore. Thus, each protein exhibited its own distinct pattern of subcellular localization during the course of coat morphogenesis. We concluded that spore coat assembly is a dynamic process involving diverse patterns of protein assembly and localization.

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