Sporulation in Clostridia (Genetics)

Authored by: Peter Dürre

Handbook on Clostridia

Print publication date:  March  2005
Online publication date:  March  2005

Print ISBN: 9780849316180
eBook ISBN: 9780203489819
Adobe ISBN:


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Longing for survival is one of the cardinal biological principles. Many bacteria undergo transition to a resting state under unfavorable conditions, reducing metabolism to a minimum. However, their cells are still vulnerable by environmental impact. Few genera developed more sophisticated defense strategies. Cell differentiation leads to protected particles, better suited for long-term “bacterial hibernation”. Examples are exospores produced by, e.g., Streptomyces, myxospores in myxobacteria, and cysts made by, e.g., Azotobacter and Methylomonas. These processes involve filament formation with subsequent septation and division, transformation of the complete progenitor cell, or a kind of a budding process [13]. Best protection against heat, loss of water, radiation, etc., however, is provided by endospores, the most resistant cell type known in all living organisms and produced, by e.g., Bacillus and Clostridium species. Endospore formation has so far almost only been observed in members of the Gram-positive bacterial phylum [4]. The model organism for investigating this process in detail is Bacillus subtilis, and numerous reviews have been published dealing with morphological, biochemical, and regulatory features occurring during this transition [513].

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