The formation of bacterial spores is a highly regulated process and the ultimate properties of the spores are determined during sporulation and subsequent maturation. A wide variety of genes that are expressed during sporulation determine spore properties such as resistance to heat and other adverse environmental conditions, dormancy and germination responses. In this study we characterized the sporulation phases of C. perfringens enterotoxic strain SM101 based on morphological characteristics, biomass accumulation (OD600), the total viable counts of cells plus spores, the viable count of heat resistant spores alone, the pH of the supernatant, enterotoxin production and dipicolinic acid accumulation. Subsequently, whole-genome expression profiling during key phases of the sporulation process was performed using DNA microarrays, and genes were clustered based on their time-course expression profiles during sporulation. The majority of previously characterized C. perfringens germination genes showed upregulated expression profiles in time during sporulation and belonged to two main clusters of genes. These clusters with up-regulated genes contained a large number of C. perfringens genes which are homologs of Bacillus genes with roles in sporulation and germination; this study therefore suggests that those homologs are functional in C. perfringens. A comprehensive homology search revealed that approximately half of the upregulated genes in the two clusters are conserved within a broad range of sporeforming Firmicutes. Another 30% of upregulated genes in the two clusters were found only in Clostridium species, while the remaining 20% appeared to be specific for C. perfringens. These newly identified genes may add to the repertoire of genes with roles in sporulation and determining spore properties including germination behavior. Their exact roles remain to be elucidated in future studies.
- dipicolinic acid
- ser/thr kinase
- killing factor
Xiao, Y., van Hijum, S. A. F. T., Abee, T., & Wells-Bennik, M. H. J. (2015). Genome-wide transcriptional profiling of Clostridium perfringens SM101 during sporulation extends the core of putative sporulation genes and genes determining spore properties and germination characteristics. PLoS ONE, 10(5), [e0127036]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127036