Gene conservation among endospore-forming bacteria reveals additional sporulation genes in Bacillus subtilis

Bjorn A. Traag, Antonia Pugliese, Jonathan A Eisen, Richard Losick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The capacity to form endospores is unique to certain members of the low-G+C group of Gram-positive bacteria (Firmicutes) and requires signature sporulation genes that are highly conserved across members of distantly related genera, such as Clostridium and Bacillus. Using gene conservation among endospore-forming bacteria, we identified eight previously uncharacterized genes that are enriched among endospore-forming species. The expression of five of these genes was dependent on sporulation-specific transcription factors. Mutants of none of the genes exhibited a conspicuous defect in sporulation, but mutants of two, ylxY and ylyA, were outcompeted by a wild-type strain under sporulation-inducing conditions, but not during growth. In contrast, a ylmC mutant displayed a slight competitive advantage over the wild type specific to sporulation-inducing conditions. The phenotype of a ylyA mutant was ascribed to a defect in spore germination efficiency. This work demonstrates the power of combining phylogenetic profiling with reverse genetics and gene-regulatory studies to identify unrecognized genes that contribute to a conserved developmental process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-260
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume195
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

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Endospore-Forming Bacteria
Bacillus subtilis
Genes
Reverse Genetics
Clostridium
Gram-Positive Bacteria
Regulator Genes
Germination
Spores
Bacillus
Transcription Factors
Phenotype
Gene Expression
Growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Gene conservation among endospore-forming bacteria reveals additional sporulation genes in Bacillus subtilis. / Traag, Bjorn A.; Pugliese, Antonia; Eisen, Jonathan A; Losick, Richard.

In: Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 195, No. 2, 01.2013, p. 253-260.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Traag, Bjorn A. ; Pugliese, Antonia ; Eisen, Jonathan A ; Losick, Richard. / Gene conservation among endospore-forming bacteria reveals additional sporulation genes in Bacillus subtilis. In: Journal of Bacteriology. 2013 ; Vol. 195, No. 2. pp. 253-260.
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