Characterization of Bacillus anthracis germinant receptors in vitro

Journal of Bacteriology
Nathan Fisher, Philip C Hanna

Abstract

Bacillus anthracis begins its infectious cycle as a metabolically dormant cell type, the endospore. Upon entry into a host, endospores rapidly differentiate into vegetative bacilli through the process of germination, thus initiating anthrax. Elucidation of the signals that trigger germination and the receptors that recognize them is critical to understanding the pathogenesis of B. anthracis. Individual mutants deficient in each of the seven putative germinant receptor-encoding loci were constructed via temperature-dependent, plasmid insertion mutagenesis and used to correlate these receptors with known germinant molecules. These analyses showed that the GerK and GerL receptors are jointly required for the alanine germination pathway and also are individually required for recognition of either proline and methionine (GerK) or serine and valine (GerL) as cogerminants in combination with inosine. The germinant specificity of GerS was refined from a previous study in a nonisogenic background since it was required only for germination in response to aromatic amino acid cogerminants. The gerA and gerY loci were found to be dispensable for recognition of all known germinant molecules. In addition, we show that the promoter of each put...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Phage Attachment Sites
Bacillus anthracis
Bacterial Proteins
Genes, Bacterial
Inosine
Operon
Episomes
Spores, Bacterial
Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
Insertion Mutation

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