Bacillus subtilis :: growth & development
Effects of different amino acids in culture media on surfactin variants produced by Bacillus subtilis TD7.
State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineering and Institute of Applied Chemistry, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China.
Surfactin produced by Bacillus subtilis has different variants, which are affected by the composition of substrate available. To demonstrate the effects of amino acids on surfactin variants, B. subtilis TD7 was cultivated under the same conditions but with different amino acids supplied in media, respectively, and the type as well as the proportion of surfactin variants produced was analyzed with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The result shows that the addition of different amino acids significantly influences the proportion of surfactin variants with different fatty acids. When Arg, Gln, or Val was added to the culture medium of B. subtilis TD7, the proportion of produced surfactin variants with even β-hydroxy fatty acids significantly increased, while the addition of Cys, His, Ile, Leu, Met, Ser, or Thr enhanced the proportion of surfactin variants with odd β-hydroxy fatty acids markedly. This result may be of some reference value in enhancing the production of specific surfactin variants as well as in the research on the relationship between culture media and the corresponding products of a certain bacterium.
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Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RE, United Kingdom.
In the absence of an overt cytoskeleton, the external cell wall of bacteria has traditionally been assumed to be the primary determinant of cell shape. In the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis, two related genes, mreB and mbl, were shown to be required for different aspects of cell morphogenesis. Subcellular localization of the MreB and Mbl proteins revealed that each forms a distinct kind of filamentous helical structure lying close to the cell surface. The distribution of the proteins in different species of bacteria, and the similarity of their sequence to eukaryotic actins, suggest that the MreB-like proteins have a cytoskeletal, actin-like role in bacterial cell morphogenesis.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Two general models have been proposed for DNA replication. In one model, DNA polymerase moves along the DNA (like a train on a track); in the other model, the polymerase is stationary (like a factory), and DNA is pulled through. To distinguish between these models, we visualized DNA polymerase of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis in living cells by the creation of a fusion protein containing the catalytic subunit (PolC) and green fluorescent protein (GFP). PolC-GFP was localized at discrete intracellular positions, predominantly at or near midcell, rather than being distributed randomly. These results suggest that the polymerase is anchored in place and thus support the model in which the DNA template moves through the polymerase.
Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3RE, United Kingdom.
Cell shape in most eubacteria is maintained by a tough external peptidoglycan cell wall. Recently, cell shape determining proteins of the MreB family were shown to form helical, actin-like cables in the cell. We used a fluorescent derivative of the antibiotic vancomycin as a probe for nascent peptidoglycan synthesis in unfixed cells of various Gram-positive bacteria. In the rod-shaped bacterium B. subtilis, synthesis of the cylindrical part of the cell wall occurs in a helical pattern governed by an MreB homolog, Mbl. However, a few rod-shaped bacteria have no MreB system. Here, a rod-like shape can be achieved by a completely different mechanism based on use of polar growth zones derived from the division machinery. These results provide insights into the diverse molecular strategies used by bacteria to control their cellular morphology, as well as suggesting ways in which these strategies may impact on growth rates and cell envelope structure.
Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138.
Sporulation in Bacillus subtilis is a model for how cells of one type generate other differentiated cell types. During sporulation two cellular compartments arise that differ from each other and from the progenitor cell. Differential gene expression between the two is governed by the successive appearance of four transcription factors whose activities are coordinated in crisscross fashion between the two cells.
Bipolar localization of the replication origin regions of chromosomes in vegetative and sporulating cells of B. subtilis.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
To investigate chromosome segregation in B. subtilis, we introduced tandem copies of the lactose operon operator into the chromosome near the replication origin or terminus. We then visualized the position of the operator cassettes with green fluorescent protein fused to the Lac1 repressor. In sporulating bacteria, which undergo asymmetric cell division, origins localized near each pole of the cell whereas termini were restricted to the middle. In growing cells, which undergo binary fission, origins were observed at various positions but preferentially toward the poles early in the cell cycle. In contrast, termini showed little preference for the poles. These results indicate the existence of a mitotic-like apparatus that is responsible for moving the origin regions of newly formed chromosomes toward opposite ends of the cell.
Dynamic, mitotic-like behavior of a bacterial protein required for accurate chromosome partitioning.
Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, UK.
The Bacillus subtilis spo0J gene is required for accurate chromosome partitioning during growth and sporulation. We have characterized the subcellular localization of Spo0J protein by immunofluorescence and, in living cells, by use of a spo0J-gfp fusion. We show that the Spo0J protein forms discrete stable foci usually located close to the cell poles. The foci replicate in concert with the initiation of new rounds of DNA replication, after which the daughter foci migrate apart inside the cell. This migration is independent of cell length extension, and presumably serves to direct the daughter chromosomes toward opposite poles of the cell, ready for division. During sporulation, the foci move to the extreme poles of the cell, where they function to position the oriC region of the chromosome ready for polar septation. These observations provide strong evidence for the existence of a dynamic, mitotic-like apparatus responsible for chromosome partitioning in bacteria.
Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.
We have purified and characterized a modified peptide pheromone that accumulates in culture medium as B. subtilis grows to high density. This pheromone is required for the development of genetic competence. When added to cells at low density, the pheromone induces the premature development of competence. The peptide moiety of the pheromone matches nine of the last ten amino acids predicted from a 55 codon open reading frame, comX. comX and comQ, the gene immediately upstream of comX, are required for production of the pheromone. Response to the pheromone requires the comP-comA two-component regulatory system and the oligopeptide permease encoded by spo0K. Spo0K could transport the pheromone into the cell, or function as a receptor, binding the pheromone and sending a transmembrane signal, leading to activation of the ComA transcription factor and induction of competence development.