Myxococcus xanthus is a soil-dwelling, gram-negative bacterium that during nutrient deprivation is capable of undergoing morphogenesis from a vegetative rod to a spherical, stress-resistant spore inside a domed-shaped, multicellular fruiting body. To identify proteins required for building stress-resistant M. xanthus spores, we compared the proteome of liquid-grown vegetative cells with the proteome of mature fruiting body spores. Two proteins, protein S and protein S1, were differentially expressed in spores, as has been reported previously. In addition, we identified three previously uncharacterized proteins that are differentially expressed in spores and that exhibit no homology to known proteins. The genes encoding these three novel major spore proteins (mspA, mspB, and mspC) were inactivated by insertion mutagenesis, and the development of the resulting mutant strains was characterized. All three mutants were capable of aggregating, but for two of the strains the resulting fruiting bodies remained flattened mounds of cells. The most pronounced structural defect of spores produced by all three mutants was an altered cortex layer. We found that mspA and mspB mutant spores were more sensitive specifically to heat and sodium dodecyl sulfate than wild-type spores, while mspC mutant spores were more sensitive to all stress treatments examined. Hence, the products of mspA, mspB, and mspC play significant roles in morphogenesis of M. xanthus spores and in the ability of spores to survive environmental stress.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology