PMID: 108248Mar 1, 1979

Electron microscope study of the rod-to-coccus shape change in a temperature-sensitive rod- mutant of Bacillus subtilis

Journal of Bacteriology
I D Burdett


The changes in cell morphology of Bacillus subtilis rodB during a temperature shift from 20 to 42 degrees C, in the absence of added anions, are described. At 20 degrees C the organisms grow as rods but gradually become spherical in shape when placed at 42 degrees C. The shape change is initiated by an increase in diameter at the cell equator, resulting in a bulged morphology, which is further modified to the morphology of a coccus. This change may involve a modification of the pattern of normal cylindrical extension such that incorporation of newly synthesized wall leads only to increase in diameter, perhaps from a growth zone of limited extent. The pattern of surface growth was followed by reconstructing the sequence of cross wall formation and pole construction in rods grown at 20 degrees C and in organisms incubated at 42 degrees C for 75 and 150 min. In thin section, wall forming the septum and nascent poles can be distinguished from the surface distal to the division site by the presence of raised tears, perhaps analogous to the wall bands of streptococci. By using an analog rotation technique involving the three-dimensional reconstruction of cells by mathematical rotation of axial thin sections about their longitudinal a...Continue Reading


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