A new fluorescence-based approach for direct visualization of coat formation during sporulation in Bacillus cereus

Armand Lablaine, Stéphanie Chamot, Mónica Serrano, Cyrille Billaudeau, Isabelle Bornard, Rut Carballido-López, Frédéric Carlin, Adriano O. Henriques, Véronique Broussolle

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Abstract

The human pathogenic bacteria Bacillus cereus, Bacillus anthracis and the entomopathogenic Bacillus thuringiensis form spores encased in a protein coat surrounded by a balloon-like exosporium. These structures mediate spore interactions with its environment, including the host immune system, control the transit of molecules that trigger germination and thus are essential for the spore life cycle. Formation of the coat and exosporium has been traditionally visualized by transmission electronic microscopy on fixed cells. Recently, we showed that assembly of the exosporium can be directly observed in live B. cereus cells by super resolution-structured illumination microscopy (SR-SIM) using the membrane MitoTrackerGreen (MTG) dye. Here, we demonstrate that the different steps of coat formation can also be visualized by SR-SIM using MTG and SNAP-cell TMR-star dyes during B. cereus sporulation. We used these markers to characterize a subpopulation of engulfment-defective B. cereus cells that develops at a suboptimal sporulation temperature. Importantly, we predicted and confirmed that synthesis and accumulation of coat material, as well as synthesis of the σK-dependent protein BxpB, occur in cells arrested during engulfment. These results suggest that, unlike the well-studied model organism Bacillus subtilis, the activity of σK is not strictly linked to the state of forespore development in B. cereus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15136
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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