Influence of crossdrafts on the performance of a biological safety cabinet.
A biological safety cabinet was tested to determine the effect of crossdrafts (such as those created by normal laboratory activity or ventilation) upon the ability of the cabinet to protect both experiments and investigators. A simple crossdraft, controllable from 50 to 200 feet per min (fpm; 15.24 to 60.96 m/min), was created across the face of the unit. Modifications of standardized procedures involving controlled bacterial aerosol challenges provided stringent test conditions. Results indicated that, as the crossflow velocities exceeded 100 fpm, the ability of the cabinet to protect either experiments or investigators decreased logarithmically with increasing crossdraft speed. Because 100 fpm is an airspeed easily achieved by some air conditioning and heating vents (open windows and doorways may create velocities far in excess of 200 fpm), the proper placement of a biological safety cabinet within the laboratory--away from such disruptive air currents--is essential to satisfactory cabinet performance. (+info)
Transient gene asymmetry during sporulation and establishment of cell specificity in Bacillus subtilis.
Sporulation in Bacillus subtilis is initiated by an asymmetric division generating two cells of different size and fate. During a short interval, the smaller forespore harbors only 30% of the chromosome until the remaining part is translocated across the septum. We demonstrate that moving the gene for sigmaF, the forespore-specific transcription factor, in the trapped region of the chromosome is sufficient to produce spores in the absence of the essential activators SpoIIAA and SpoIIE. We propose that transient genetic asymmetry is the device that releases SpoIIE phosphatase activity in the forespore and establishes cell specificity. (+info)
Secretion, localization, and antibacterial activity of TasA, a Bacillus subtilis spore-associated protein.
The synthesis and subcellular localization of the proteins that comprise the Bacillus subtilis spore are under a variety of complex controls. To better understand these controls, we have identified and characterized a 31-kDa sporulation protein, called TasA, which is secreted into the culture medium early in sporulation and is also incorporated into the spore. TasA synthesis begins approximately 30 min after the onset of sporulation and requires the sporulation transcription factor genes spo0H and spo0A. The first 81 nucleotides of tasA encode a 27-amino-acid sequence that resembles a signal peptide and which is missing from TasA isolated from a sporulating cell lysate. In B. subtilis cells unable to synthesize the signal peptidase SipW, TasA is not secreted, nor is it incorporated into spores. Cells unable to produce SipW produce a 34-kDa form of TasA, consistent with a failure to remove the N-terminal 27 amino acids. In cells engineered to express sipW and tasA during exponential growth, TasA migrates as a 31-kDa species and is secreted into the culture medium. These results indicate that SipW plays a crucial role in the export of TasA out of the cell and its incorporation into spores. Although TasA is dispensable for sporulation under laboratory conditions, we find that TasA has a broad-spectrum antibacterial activity. We discuss the possibility that during the beginning of sporulation as well as later, during germination, TasA inhibits other organisms in the environment, thus conferring a competitive advantage to the spore. (+info)
Heat resistance of native and demineralized spores of Bacillus subtilis sporulated at different temperatures.
Demineralization reduced heat resistance of B. subtilis spores, but the pattern and magnitude of the reduction depended on sporulation temperature and on heating menstruum pH. The differences in heat resistance of native spores caused by sporulation temperature almost disappeared after demineralization. Demineralized spores were still susceptible to the heat-sensitizing effect of acidic pH. (+info)
Bacillus subtilis spore coat.
In response to starvation, bacilli and clostridia undergo a specialized program of development that results in the production of a highly resistant dormant cell type known as the spore. A proteinacious shell, called the coat, encases the spore and plays a major role in spore survival. The coat is composed of over 25 polypeptide species, organized into several morphologically distinct layers. The mechanisms that guide coat assembly have been largely unknown until recently. We now know that proper formation of the coat relies on the genetic program that guides the synthesis of spore components during development as well as on morphogenetic proteins dedicated to coat assembly. Over 20 structural and morphogenetic genes have been cloned. In this review, we consider the contributions of the known coat and morphogenetic proteins to coat function and assembly. We present a model that describes how morphogenetic proteins direct coat assembly to the specific subcellular site of the nascent spore surface and how they establish the coat layers. We also discuss the importance of posttranslational processing of coat proteins in coat morphogenesis. Finally, we review some of the major outstanding questions in the field. (+info)
SodA and manganese are essential for resistance to oxidative stress in growing and sporulating cells of Bacillus subtilis.
We constructed a sodA-disrupted mutant of Bacillus subtilis 168, BK1, by homologous recombination. The mutant was not able to grow in minimal medium without Mn(II). The spore-forming ability of strain BK1 was significantly lower in Mn(II)-depleted medium than that of the wild-type strain. These deleterious effects caused by the sodA mutation were reversed when an excess of Mn(II) was used to supplement the medium. Moreover, the growth inhibition by superoxide generators in strain BK1 and its parent strain was also reversed by the supplementation with excess Mn(II). We therefore estimated the Mn-dependent superoxide-scavenging activity in BK1 cells. Whereas BK1 cells have no detectable superoxide dismutase (Sod) on native gel, the superoxide-scavenging activity in crude extracts of BK1 cells grown in Mn(II)-supplemented LB medium (10 g of tryptone, 5 g of yeast extract, and 5 g of NaCl per liter) was significantly detected by the modified Sod assay method without using EDTA. The results obtained suggest that Mn, as a free ion or a complex with some cellular component, can catalyze the elimination of superoxide and that both SodA and Mn(II) are involved not only in the superoxide resistance of vegetative cells but also in sporulation. (+info)
Specific binding of the E2 subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase to the upstream region of Bacillus thuringiensis protoxin genes.
During sporulation, Bacillus thuringiensis produces inclusions comprised of different amounts of several related protoxins, each with a unique specificity profile for insect larvae. A major class of these genes designated cry1 have virtually identical dual overlapping promoters, but the upstream sequences differ. A gel retardation assay was used to purify a potential regulatory protein which bound with different affinities to these sequences in three cry1 genes. It was identified as the E2 subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase. There was specific competition for binding by homologous gene sequences but not by pUC nor Bacillus subtilis DNA; calf thymus DNA competed at higher concentrations. The B. thuringiensis gene encoding E2 was cloned, and the purified glutathione S-transferase-E2 fusion protein footprinted to a consensus binding sequence within an inverted repeat and to a potential bend region, both sites 200-300 base pairs upstream of the promoters. Mutations of these sites in the cry1A gene resulted in decreased binding of the E2 protein and altered kinetics of expression of a fusion of this regulatory region with the lacZ gene. Recruitment of the E2 subunit as a transcription factor could couple the change in post exponential catabolism to the initiation of protoxin synthesis. (+info)
Negative regulation by the Bacillus subtilis GerE protein.
GerE is a transcription factor produced in the mother cell compartment of sporulating Bacillus subtilis. It is a critical regulator of cot genes encoding proteins that form the spore coat late in development. Most cot genes, and the gerE gene, are transcribed by sigmaK RNA polymerase. Previously, it was shown that the GerE protein inhibits transcription in vitro of the sigK gene encoding sigmaK. Here, we show that GerE binds near the sigK transcriptional start site, to act as a repressor. A sigK-lacZ fusion containing the GerE-binding site in the promoter region was expressed at a 2-fold lower level during sporulation of wild-type cells than gerE mutant cells. Likewise, the level of SigK protein (i. e. pro-sigmaK and sigmaK) was lower in sporulating wild-type cells than in a gerE mutant. These results demonstrate that sigmaK-dependent transcription of gerE initiates a negative feedback loop in which GerE acts as a repressor to limit production of sigmaK. In addition, GerE directly represses transcription of particular cot genes. We show that GerE binds to two sites that span the -35 region of the cotD promoter. A low level of GerE activated transcription of cotD by sigmaK RNA polymerase in vitro, but a higher level of GerE repressed cotD transcription. The upstream GerE-binding site was required for activation but not for repression. These results suggest that a rising level of GerE in sporulating cells may first activate cotD transcription from the upstream site then repress transcription as the downstream site becomes occupied. Negative regulation by GerE, in addition to its positive effects on transcription, presumably ensures that sigmaK and spore coat proteins are synthesized at optimal levels to produce a germination-competent spore. (+info)